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Mast cell activation involves cross-linking of IgE receptors followed by phosphorylation of the non-receptor tyrosine kinase Syk. This results in activation of the plasma membrane-bound enzyme phospholipase Cgamma1, which hydrolyzes the minor membrane phospholipid phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate to generate diacylglycerol and inositol trisphosphate. Inositol trisphosphate raises cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration by releasing Ca2+ from intracellular stores. This Ca2+ release phase is accompanied by sustained Ca2+ influx through store-operated Ca2+ release-activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channels. Here, we find that engagement of IgE receptors activates Syk, and this leads to Ca2+ release from stores followed by Ca2+ influx. The Ca2+ influx phase then sustains Syk activity. The Ca2+ influx pathway activated by these receptors was identified as the CRAC channel, because pharmacological block of the channels with either a low concentration of Gd3+ or exposure to the novel CRAC channel blocker 3-fluoropyridine-4-carboxylic acid (2',5'-dimethoxybiphenyl-4-yl)amide or RNA interference knockdown of Orai1, which encodes the CRAC channel pore, all prevented the increase in Syk activity triggered by Ca2+ entry. CRAC channels and Syk are spatially close together, because increasing cytoplasmic Ca2+ buffering with the fast Ca2+ chelator 1,2-bis(2-aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid tetrakis failed to prevent activation of Syk by Ca2+ entry. Our results reveal a positive feedback step in mast cell activation where receptor-triggered Syk activation and subsequent Ca2+ release opens CRAC channels, and the ensuing local Ca2+ entry then maintains Syk activity. Ca2+ entry through CRAC channels therefore provides a means whereby the Ca2+ and tyrosine kinase signaling pathways can interact with one another.

Original publication




Journal article


J Biol Chem

Publication Date





31348 - 31355


Animals, Antigens, Calcium, Calcium Channels, Calcium Signaling, Cell Line, Tumor, Down-Regulation, Enzyme Activation, Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins, Mast Cells, Phosphorylation, Protein-Tyrosine Kinases, RNA Interference, Rats, Receptors, IgE