It is suggested that migration of airway smooth muscle (ASM) cells plays an important role in the pathogenesis of airway remodeling in asthma. Increases in intracellular Ca2+ concentrations ([Ca2+]i) regulate most ASM cell functions related to asthma, such as contraction and proliferation. Recently, STIM1 was identified as a sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca2+ sensor that activates Orai1, the Ca2+ channel responsible for store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE). We investigated the role of STIM1 in [Ca2+]i and cell migration induced by platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-BB in human ASM cells. Cell migration was assessed by a chemotaxis chamber assay. Human ASM cells express STIM1, STIM2, and Orai1 mRNAs. SOCE activated by thapsigargin, an inhibitor of SR Ca2+-ATPase, was significantly blocked by STIM1 siRNA and Orai1 siRNA but not by STIM2 siRNA. PDGF-BB induced a transient increase in [Ca2+]i followed by sustained [Ca2+]i elevation. Sustained increases in [Ca2+]i due to PDGF-BB were significantly inhibited by a Ca2+ chelating agent EGTA or by siRNA for STIM1 or Orai1. The numbers of migrating cells were significantly increased by PDGF-BB treatment for 6 h. Knockdown of STIM1 and Orai1 by siRNA transfection inhibited PDGF-induced cell migration. Similarly, EGTA significantly inhibited PDGF-induced cell migration. In contrast, transfection with siRNA for STIM2 did not inhibit the sustained elevation of [Ca2+]i or cell migration induced by PDGF-BB. These results demonstrate that STIM1 and Orai1 are essential for PDGF-induced cell migration and Ca2+ influx in human ASM cells. STIM1 could be an important molecule responsible for airway remodeling.
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