Activation of the Ca2+ release–activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channel is crucial for T cell functions. It was recently shown that naked cuticle homolog 2 (NKD2), a signaling adaptor molecule, orchestrates trafficking of ORAI1, a pore subunit of the CRAC channels, to the plasma membrane for sustained activation of the CRAC channels. However, the physiological role of sustained Ca2+ entry via ORAI1 trafficking remains poorly understood. Using NKD2 as a molecular handle, we show that ORAI1 trafficking is crucial for sustained Ca2+ entry and cytokine production, especially in inflammatory Th1 and Th17 cells. We find that murine T cells cultured under pathogenic Th17-polarizing conditions have higher Ca2+ levels that are NKD2-dependent than those under nonpathogenic conditions. In vivo, deletion of Nkd2 alleviated clinical symptoms of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in mice by selectively decreasing effector T cell responses in the CNS. Furthermore, we observed a strong correlation between NKD2 expression and proinflammatory cytokine production in effector T cells. Taken together, our findings suggest that the pathogenic effector T cell response demands sustained Ca2+ entry supported by ORAI1 trafficking.

You do not currently have access to this content.