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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.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.molcel.2021.10.025

Type

Journal article

Journal

Mol Cell

Publication Date

11/11/2021

Keywords

CRAC channel, Orai1, RHBDL2, T cell, calcium, rhomboid protease, signalling, transmembrane