Research Article

Crystal Structure of the Calcium Release–Activated Calcium Channel Orai

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Science  22 Nov 2012:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1228757

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The plasma membrane protein Orai forms the pore of the calcium release–activated calcium channel and generates sustained cytosolic calcium signals when triggered by depletion of calcium from the endoplasmic reticulum. The crystal structure of Orai from Drosophila melanogaster, determined at 3.35 angstrom resolution, reveals that the calcium channel is composed of a hexameric assembly of Orai subunits arranged around a central ion pore. The pore traverses the membrane and extends into the cytosol. A ring of glutamate residues on its extracellular side forms the selectivity filter. A basic region near the intracellular side can bind anions that may stabilize the closed state. The architecture of the channel differs markedly from other ion channels and gives insight into the principles of selective calcium permeation and gating.

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