Cross-talk between N-terminal and C-terminal domains in stromal interaction molecule 2 (STIM2) determines enhanced STIM2 sensitivity.J Biol Chem. 2019 04 19; 294(16):6318-6332.JB
Store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) is a ubiquitous pathway for Ca2+ influx across the plasma membrane (PM). SOCE is mediated by the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated Ca2+-sensing proteins stromal interaction molecule 1 (STIM1) and STIM2, which transition into an active conformation in response to ER Ca2+ store depletion, thereby interacting with and gating PM-associated ORAI1 channels. Although structurally homologous, STIM1 and STIM2 generate distinct Ca2+ signatures in response to varying strengths of agonist stimulation. The physiological functions of these Ca2+ signatures, particularly under native conditions, remain unclear. To investigate the structural properties distinguishing STIM1 and STIM2 activation of ORAI1 channels under native conditions, here we used CRISPR/Cas9 to generate STIM1-/-, STIM2-/-, and STIM1/2-/- knockouts in HEK293 and colorectal HCT116 cells. We show that depending on cell type, STIM2 can significantly sustain SOCE in response to maximal store depletion. Utilizing the SOCE modifier 2-aminoethoxydiphenyl borate (2-APB), we demonstrate that 2-APB-activated store-independent Ca2+ entry is mediated exclusively by endogenous STIM2. Using variants that either stabilize or disrupt intramolecular interactions of STIM C termini, we show that the increased flexibility of the STIM2 C terminus contributes to its selective store-independent activation by 2-APB. However, STIM1 variants with enhanced flexibility in the C terminus failed to support its store-independent activation. STIM1/STIM2 chimeric constructs indicated that coordination between N-terminal sensitivity and C-terminal flexibility is required for specific store-independent STIM2 activation. Our results clarify the structural determinants underlying activation of specific STIM isoforms, insights that are potentially useful for isoform-selective drug targeting.