An siRNA screen for NFAT activation identifies septins as coordinators of store-operated Ca2+ entry

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The STIM1–ORAI1 pathway of store-operated Ca2+ entry is an essential component of cellular Ca2+ signalling1. STIM1 senses depletion of intracellular Ca2+ stores in response to physiological stimuli, and relocalizes within the endoplasmic reticulum to plasma-membrane-apposed junctions, where it recruits and gates open plasma membrane ORAI1 Ca2+ channels. Here we use a genome-wide RNA interference screen in HeLa cells to identify filamentous septin proteins as crucial regulators of store-operated Ca2+ entry. Septin filaments and phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate (also known as PtdIns(4,5)P2) rearrange locally at endoplasmic reticulum–plasma membrane junctions before and during formation of STIM1–ORAI1 clusters, facilitating STIM1 targeting to these junctions and promoting the stable recruitment of ORAI1. Septin rearrangement at junctions is required for PtdIns(4,5)P2 reorganization and efficient STIM1–ORAI1 communication. Septins are known to demarcate specialized membrane regions such as dendritic spines, the yeast bud and the primary cilium, and to serve as membrane diffusion barriers and/or signalling hubs in cellular processes such as vesicle trafficking, cell polarity and cytokinesis2-4. Our data show that septins also organize the highly localized plasma membrane domains that are important in STIM1–ORAI1 signalling, and indicate that septins may organize membrane microdomains relevant to other signalling processes.

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