Conformational surveillance of Orai1 by a rhomboid intramembrane protease prevents inappropriate CRAC channel activation.
Grieve AG., Yeh Y-C., Chang Y-F., Huang H-Y., Zarcone L., Breuning J., Johnson N., Stříšovský K., Brown MH., Parekh AB., Freeman M.
Calcium influx through plasma membrane calcium release-activated calcium (CRAC) channels, which are formed of hexamers of Orai1, is a potent trigger for many important biological processes, most notably in T cell-mediated immunity. Through a bioinformatics-led cell biological screen, we have identified Orai1 as a substrate for the rhomboid intramembrane protease RHBDL2. We show that RHBDL2 prevents stochastic calcium signaling in unstimulated cells through conformational surveillance and cleavage of inappropriately activated Orai1. A conserved disease-linked proline residue is responsible for RHBDL2's recognizing the active conformation of Orai1, which is required to sharpen switch-like signaling triggered by store-operated calcium entry. Loss of RHBDL2 control of CRAC channel activity causes severe dysregulation of downstream CRAC channel effectors, including transcription factor activation, inflammatory cytokine expression, and T cell activation. We propose that this surveillance function may represent an ancient activity of rhomboid proteases in degrading unwanted signaling proteins.