Coiled-Coil Formation Conveys a STIM1 Signal from ER Lumen to Cytoplasm.Cell Rep. 2018 01 02; 22(1):72-83.CR
STIM1 and STIM2 are endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane proteins that sense decreases in ER-luminal free Ca2+ and, through a conformational change in the STIM cytoplasmic domain, control gating of the plasma membrane Ca2+ channel ORAI1. To determine how STIM1 conveys a signal from the ER lumen to the cytoplasm, we studied the Ca2+-dependent conformational change of engineered STIM1 proteins in isolated ER membranes and, in parallel, physiological activation of these proteins in cells. We find that conserved "sentinel" features of the CC1 region help to prevent activation while Ca2+ is bound to STIM ER-luminal domains. Reduced ER-luminal Ca2+ drives a concerted conformational change, in which STIM luminal domains rearrange and the STIM transmembrane helices and initial parts of the CC1 regions pair in an extended coiled coil. This intradimer rearrangement overcomes the relatively weak CC1-SOAR/CAD interactions that hold STIM in an inactive conformation, releasing the SOAR/CAD domain to activate ORAI channels.