Eukaryotic organelles can interact with each other through stable junctions where the two membranes are kept in close apposition. The junction that connects the endoplasmic reticulum to the plasma membrane (ER-PM junction) is unique in providing a direct communication link between the ER and the PM. In a recently discovered signaling process, STIM (stromal-interacting molecule) proteins sense a drop in ER Ca2+ levels and directly activate Orai PM Ca2+ channels across the junction space. In an inverse process, a voltage-gated PM Ca2+ channel can directly open ER ryanodine-receptor Ca2+ channels in striated-muscle cells. Although ER-PM junctions were first described 50 years ago, their broad importance in Ca2+ signaling, as well as in the regulation of cholesterol and phosphatidylinositol lipid transfer, has only recently been realized. Here, we discuss research from different fields to provide a broad perspective on the structures and unique roles of ER-PM junctions in controlling signaling and metabolic processes.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Review Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error