Research ArticlePhysiology

SOCE mediated by STIM and Orai is essential for pacemaker activity in the interstitial cells of Cajal in the gastrointestinal tract

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Sci. Signal.  12 Jun 2018:
Vol. 11, Issue 534, eaaq0918
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaq0918

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Keeping the gut moving

The gut contracts periodically to mix and propel its contents. These rhythmic contractions are driven by the pacemaker activity of the interstitial cells of Cajal in the gut, which generate electrical slow waves that require Ca2+ release from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Zheng et al. showed that ER Ca2+ stores in the interstitial cells of Cajal were refilled by store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE), a process that was mediated by Orai Ca2+ channels and the STIM family of Ca2+ sensors. Some gastrointestinal motility disorders have been linked to defects in the activity of the interstitial cells of Cajal, which may be due to dysfunctional SOCE.