Demaurex group publishes a review on calcium signalling in immune cells


The Demaurex group recently published a review article in the American Journal of Physiology – Cell Physiology entitled “The Role of STIM and ORAI Proteins in Phagocytic Immune Cells.” (Demaurex N. and Nunes P.). The article was part of a series of invited reviews covering the role of the STIM and ORAI protein families in various contexts, including immune function, but also in smooth muscle, pancreatic, and cancer cells.

Calcium is an important signalling molecule involved in many cellular functions including secretion, contraction, gene expression, migration, proliferation and cell death. STIM and ORAI are two families of molecules involved in a specific type of calcium signalling termed store-operated calcium entry (SOCE). Mutations in these molecules cause severe congenital immunodeficiency linked to a loss of T cell function, as well as muscle and skin disorders. The heavy dependence of immune function on these molecules, and particularly on ORAI, which are channels present on the surface of cells, makes them promising drug targets for autoimmune diseases. Indeed, several companies are currently developing drugs targeting ORAI. The latest research on the role of STIM/ORAI in cancer cell migration and proliferation has also suggested these molecules may also be interesting targets for new cancer therapies. While the role of STIM/ORAI in T cells has been extensively studied, their role in innate immune cells such as neutrophils, macrophages and dendritic cells (collectively the phagocytic immune cells), which are one of the body’s primary defence against infections, has only begun to be explored in the past few years. The review by the Demaurex group covers the recent literature on the role of STIM/ORAI in phagocytic immune cells, which may be an important factor in predicting and avoiding immune suppression and the potential increased risk of susceptibility to infection of developing drugs targetting ORAI. 


For more information, please contact Paula.Nunes(at) or Nicolas.Demaurex(at)









Posted by: P. Nunes

15 Mar 2016