Ca2+ signaling but not store-operated Ca2+ entry is required for the function of macrophages and dendritic cells

Martin Vaeth, Isabelle Zee, Axel R. Concepcion, Mate Maus, Patrick Shaw, Cynthia Portal-Celhay, Aleena Zahra, Lina Kozhaya, Carl Weidinger, Jennifer Philips, Derya Unutmaz, Stefan Feske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) through Ca2+ release-Activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channels is essential for immunity to infection. CRAC channels are formed by ORAI1 proteins in the plasma membrane and activated by stromal interaction molecule (STIM)1 and STIM2 in the endoplasmic reticulum. Mutations in ORAI1 and STIM1 genes that abolish SOCE cause severe immunodeficiency with recurrent infections due to impaired T cell function. SOCE has also been observed in cells of the innate immune system such as macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs) and may provide Ca2+ signals required for their function. The specific role of SOCE in macrophage and DC function, as well as its contribution to innate immunity, however, is not well defined. We found that nonselective inhibition of Ca2+ signaling strongly impairs many effector functions of bone marrow-derived macrophages and bone marrow-derived DCs, including phagocytosis, inflammasome activation, and priming of T cells. Surprisingly, however, macrophages and DCs from mice with conditional deletion of Stim1 and Stim2 genes, and therefore complete inhibition of SOCE, showed no major functional defects. Their differentiation, FcR-dependent and -independent phagocytosis, phagolysosome fusion, cytokine production, NLRP3 inflammasome activation, and their ability to present Ags to activate T cells were preserved. Our findings demonstrate that STIM1, STIM2, and SOCE are dispensable for many critical effector functions of macrophages and DCs, which has important implications for CRAC channel inhibition as a therapeutic strategy to suppress pathogenic T cells while not interfering with myeloid cell functions required for innate immunity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1202-1217
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


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