The Biochemical journal

Calcium homoeostasis modulator 1 (CALHM1) reduces the calcium content of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and triggers ER stress.

PMID 21574960


CALHM1 (calcium homoeostasis modulator 1), a membrane protein with similarity to NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor channels that localizes in the plasma membrane and the ER (endoplasmic reticulum) of neurons, has been shown to generate a plasma-membrane Ca(2+) conductance and has been proposed to influence Alzheimer's disease risk. In the present study we have investigated the effects of CALHM1 on intracellular Ca(2+) handling in HEK-293T [HEK (human embryonic kidney)-293 cells expressing the large T-antigen of SV40 (simian virus 40)] cells by using targeted aequorins for selective monitorization of Ca(2+) transport by organelles. We find that CALHM1 increases Ca(2+) leak from the ER and, more importantly, reduces ER Ca(2+) uptake by decreasing both the transport capacity and the Ca(2+) affinity of SERCA (sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase). As a result, the Ca(2+) content of the ER is drastically decreased. This reduction in the Ca(2+) content of the ER triggered the UPR (unfolded protein response) with induction of several ER stress markers, such as CHOP [C/EBP (CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein)-homologous protein], ERdj4, GRP78 (glucose-regulated protein of 78 kDa) and XBP1 (X-box-binding protein 1). Thus CALHM1 might provide a relevant link between Ca(2+) homoeostasis disruption, ER stress and cell damage in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases.