Permeation and gating mechanisms in store-operated CRAC channels

Anita Engh, Agila Somasundaram, Murali Prakriya*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Ca2+ is a ubiquitous signaling messenger mediating many essential cellular functions such as excitability, exocytosis and transcription. Among the different pathways by which cellular Ca2+ signals are generated, the entry of Ca2+ through store-operated Ca2+ release-activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channels has emerged as a widespread mechanism for regulating Ca2+ signaling in many eukaryotic cells. CRAC channels are implicated in the physiology and pathophysiology of numerous cell types, underlie several disease processes including a severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome, and have emerged as major targets for drug development. Although little was known of the molecular mechanisms of CRAC channels for several decades, the discovery of Orai1 as a prototypic CRAC channel pore-subunit, and the identification of STIM1 as the ER Ca2+ sensor, have led to rapid progress in our understanding of many aspects of CRAC channel behavior. This review examines the molecular features of the STIM and Orai proteins that regulate the activation and conduction mechanisms of CRAC channels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1613-1626
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers in Bioscience
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


  • CRAC channel
  • Gating
  • Orai1
  • Permeation
  • Review
  • STIM1
  • Store-operated channel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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