Education & Certifications

  • BS, UC San Diego, Chemistry/Biochemistry
  • PhD, UC Berkeley, Molecular Cell Biology


All Publications

  • Single-molecule analysis of diffusion and trapping of STIM1 and Orai1 at endoplasmic reticulum-plasma membrane junctions MOLECULAR BIOLOGY OF THE CELL Wu, M. M., Covington, E. D., Lewis, R. S. 2014; 25 (22): 3672-3685
  • Essential Role for the CRAC Activation Domain in Store-dependent Oligomerization of STIM1 MOLECULAR BIOLOGY OF THE CELL Covington, E. D., Wu, M. M., Lewis, R. S. 2010; 21 (11): 1897-1907


    Oligomerization of the ER Ca(2+) sensor STIM1 is an essential step in store-operated Ca(2+) entry. The lumenal EF-hand and SAM domains of STIM1 are believed to initiate oligomerization after Ca(2+) store depletion, but the contributions of STIM1 cytosolic domains (coiled-coil 1, CC1; coiled-coil 2, CC2; CRAC activation domain, CAD) to this process are not well understood. By applying coimmunoprecipitation and fluorescence photobleaching and energy transfer techniques to truncated and mutant STIM1 proteins, we find that STIM1 cytosolic domains play distinct roles in forming both "resting" oligomers in cells with replete Ca(2+) stores and higher-order oligomers in store-depleted cells. CC1 supports the formation of resting STIM1 oligomers and appears to interact with cytosolic components to slow STIM1 diffusion. On store depletion, STIM1 lacking all cytosolic domains (STIM1-DeltaC) oligomerizes through EF-SAM interactions alone, but these oligomers are unstable. Addition of CC1 + CAD, but not CC1 alone, enables the formation of stable store-dependent oligomers. Within the CAD, both CC2 and C-terminal residues contribute to oligomer formation. Our results reveal a new function for the CAD: in addition to binding and activating Orai1, it is directly involved in STIM1 oligomerization, the initial event triggering store-operated Ca(2+) entry.

    View details for DOI 10.1091/mbc.E10-02-0145

    View details for Web of Science ID 000278118000011

    View details for PubMedID 20375143

  • Loose coupling between calcium channels and sites of exocytosis in chromaffin cells JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGY-LONDON Wu, M. M., Llobet, A., Lagnado, L. 2009; 587 (22): 5377-5391


    Calcium microdomains generated by tight clusters of calcium channels regulate fusion of small vesicles at the synaptic terminal and have also been suggested to trigger exocytosis of large dense-core vesicles from neuroendocrine cells. To test this idea, we have compared sites of exocytosis and the spatial distribution of calcium channels in chromaffin cells. Fusion of individual vesicles was visualized using interference reflection microscopy and the submembranous calcium signal was assessed using total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy. Depolarization triggered a burst of exocytosis from up to seven sites in a membrane area of 11 microm(2), but these sites did not colocalize with calcium microdomains. Instead, calcium influx occurred in large patches (averaging 34 microm(2)) containing a mixture of P/Q- and N-type channels. About 20% of fusion events occurred outside calcium channel patches. Further, the delay between the onset of stimulation and a burst of exocytosis was prolonged for several seconds by increasing the concentration of the slow calcium chelator EGTA from 1.5 to 5 mM. These results demonstrate that while calcium channels and release sites tend to congregate in specialized regions of the surface membrane, these have dimensions of several micrometres. The dominant calcium signal regulating release in chromaffin cells is generated by the cooperative action of many channels operating over distances of many micrometres rather than discrete clusters of calcium channels generating localized microdomains.

    View details for DOI 10.1113/jphysiol.2009.176065

    View details for Web of Science ID 000271647000013

    View details for PubMedID 19752110

  • The mouth of a dense-core vesicle opens and closes in a concerted action regulated by calcium and amphiphysin JOURNAL OF CELL BIOLOGY Llobet, A., Wu, M., Lagnado, L. 2008; 182 (5): 1017-1028


    Secretion of hormones and peptides by neuroendocrine cells occurs through fast and slow modes of vesicle fusion but the mechanics of these processes are not understood. We used interference reflection microscopy to monitor deformations of the membrane surface and found that both modes of fusion involve the tightly coupled dilation and constriction of the vesicle. The rate of opening is calcium dependent and occurs rapidly at concentrations <5 muM [corrected] The fast mode of fusion is blocked selectively by a truncation mutant of amphiphysin. Vesicles do not collapse when fusion is triggered by strontium, rather they remain locked open and membrane scission is blocked. In contrast, constriction of the vesicle opening continues when endocytosis is blocked by inhibiting the function of dynamin. Thus, fast and slow modes of fusion involve similar membrane deformations and vesicle closure can be uncoupled from membrane scission. Regulation of these processes by calcium and amphiphysin may provide a mechanism for controlling the release of vesicle contents.

    View details for DOI 10.1083/jcb.200807034

    View details for Web of Science ID 000259050700019

    View details for PubMedID 18779374

  • Oligomerization of STIM1 couples ER calcium depletion to CRAC channel activation NATURE Luik, R. M., Wang, B., Prakriya, M., Wu, M. M., Lewis, R. S. 2008; 454 (7203): 538-U11


    Ca(2+)-release-activated Ca(2+) (CRAC) channels generate sustained Ca(2+) signals that are essential for a range of cell functions, including antigen-stimulated T lymphocyte activation and proliferation. Recent studies have revealed that the depletion of Ca(2+) from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) triggers the oligomerization of stromal interaction molecule 1 (STIM1), the ER Ca(2+) sensor, and its redistribution to ER-plasma membrane (ER-PM) junctions where the CRAC channel subunit ORAI1 accumulates in the plasma membrane and CRAC channels open. However, how the loss of ER Ca(2+) sets into motion these coordinated molecular rearrangements remains unclear. Here we define the relationships among [Ca(2+)](ER), STIM1 redistribution and CRAC channel activation and identify STIM1 oligomerization as the critical [Ca(2+)](ER)-dependent event that drives store-operated Ca(2+) entry. In human Jurkat leukaemic T cells expressing an ER-targeted Ca(2+) indicator, CRAC channel activation and STIM1 redistribution follow the same function of [Ca(2+)](ER), reaching half-maximum at approximately 200 microM with a Hill coefficient of approximately 4. Because STIM1 binds only a single Ca(2+) ion, the high apparent cooperativity suggests that STIM1 must first oligomerize to enable its accumulation at ER-PM junctions. To assess directly the causal role of STIM1 oligomerization in store-operated Ca(2+) entry, we replaced the luminal Ca(2+)-sensing domain of STIM1 with the 12-kDa FK506- and rapamycin-binding protein (FKBP12, also known as FKBP1A) or the FKBP-rapamycin binding (FRB) domain of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR, also known as FRAP1). A rapamycin analogue oligomerizes the fusion proteins and causes them to accumulate at ER-PM junctions and activate CRAC channels without depleting Ca(2+) from the ER. Thus, STIM1 oligomerization is the critical transduction event through which Ca(2+) store depletion controls store-operated Ca(2+) entry, acting as a switch that triggers the self-organization and activation of STIM1-ORAI1 clusters at ER-PM junctions.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nature07065

    View details for Web of Science ID 000257860300056

    View details for PubMedID 18596693

  • Some assembly required: Constructing the elementary units of store-operated Ca2+ entry CELL CALCIUM Wu, M. M., Luik, R. M., Lewis, R. S. 2007; 42 (2): 163-172


    The means by which Ca(2+) store depletion evokes the opening of store-operated Ca(2+) channels (SOCs) in the plasma membrane of excitable and non-excitable cells has been a longstanding mystery. Indirect evidence has supported local interactions between the ER and SOCs as well as long-range interactions mediated through a diffusible activator. The recent molecular identification of the ER Ca(2+) sensor (STIM1) and a subunit of the CRAC channel (Orai1), a prototypic SOC, has now made it possible to visualize directly the sequence of events that links store depletion to CRAC channel opening. Following store depletion, STIM1 moves from locations throughout the ER to accumulate in ER subregions positioned within 10-25nm of the plasma membrane. Simultaneously, Orai1 gathers at discrete sites in the plasma membrane directly opposite STIM1, resulting in local CRAC channel activation. These new studies define the elementary units of store-operated Ca(2+) entry, and reveal an unprecedented mechanism for channel activation in which the stimulus brings a channel and its activator/sensor together for interaction across apposed membrane compartments. We discuss the implications of this choreographic mechanism with regard to Ca(2+) dynamics, specificity of Ca(2+) signaling, and the existence of a specialized ER subset dedicated to the control of the CRAC channel.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ceca.2007.03.003

    View details for Web of Science ID 000248833400007

    View details for PubMedID 17499354

  • Ca2+ store depletion causes STIM1 to accumulate in ER regions closely associated with the plasma membrane JOURNAL OF CELL BIOLOGY Wu, M. M., Buchanan, J., Luik, R. M., Lewis, R. S. 2006; 174 (6): 803-813


    Stromal interacting molecule 1 (STIM1), reported to be an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) Ca(2+) sensor controlling store-operated Ca(2+) entry, redistributes from a diffuse ER localization into puncta at the cell periphery after store depletion. STIM1 redistribution is proposed to be necessary for Ca(2+) release-activated Ca(2+) (CRAC) channel activation, but it is unclear whether redistribution is rapid enough to play a causal role. Furthermore, the location of STIM1 puncta is uncertain, with recent reports supporting retention in the ER as well as insertion into the plasma membrane (PM). Using total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy and patch-clamp recording from single Jurkat cells, we show that STIM1 puncta form several seconds before CRAC channels open, supporting a causal role in channel activation. Fluorescence quenching and electron microscopy analysis reveal that puncta correspond to STIM1 accumulation in discrete subregions of junctional ER located 10-25 nm from the PM, without detectable insertion of STIM1 into the PM. Roughly one third of these ER-PM contacts form in response to store depletion. These studies identify an ER structure underlying store-operated Ca(2+) entry, whose extreme proximity to the PM may enable STIM1 to interact with CRAC channels or associated proteins.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000240697100010

    View details for PubMedID 16966422

  • The elementary unit of store-operated Ca2+ entry: local activation of CRAC channels by STIM1 at ER-plasma membrane junctions JOURNAL OF CELL BIOLOGY Luik, R. M., Wu, M. M., Buchanan, J., Lewis, R. S. 2006; 174 (6): 815-825


    The activation of store-operated Ca(2+) entry by Ca(2+) store depletion has long been hypothesized to occur via local interactions of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and plasma membrane, but the structure involved has never been identified. Store depletion causes the ER Ca(2+) sensor stromal interacting molecule 1 (STIM1) to form puncta by accumulating in junctional ER located 10-25 nm from the plasma membrane (see Wu et al. on p. 803 of this issue). We have combined total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy and patch-clamp recording to localize STIM1 and sites of Ca(2+) influx through open Ca(2+) release-activated Ca(2+) (CRAC) channels in Jurkat T cells after store depletion. CRAC channels open only in the immediate vicinity of STIM1 puncta, restricting Ca(2+) entry to discrete sites comprising a small fraction of the cell surface. Orai1, an essential component of the CRAC channel, colocalizes with STIM1 after store depletion, providing a physical basis for the local activation of Ca(2+) influx. These studies reveal for the first time that STIM1 and Orai1 move in a coordinated fashion to form closely apposed clusters in the ER and plasma membranes, thereby creating the elementary unit of store-operated Ca(2+) entry.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000240697100011

    View details for PubMedID 16966423

  • Bulk membrane retrieval in the synaptic terminal of retinal bipolar cells JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE Holt, M., Cooke, A., Wu, M. M., Lagnado, L. 2003; 23 (4): 1329-1339


    The mechanism of bulk membrane uptake at the synapse remains poorly defined, although exocytosis of synaptic vesicles is followed by compensatory membrane retrieval into both small vesicles and large cisternas or vacuoles. We investigated bulk retrieval in the presynaptic terminal of retinal bipolar cells. Fluorescence imaging of the membrane dye FM1-43 indicated that Ca2+-triggered exocytosis was followed by endocytosis into small vesicles and larger vacuoles that could be selectively labeled using large fluorescent dextrans. Disruption of actin filaments with cytochalasin D or latrunculin B inhibited the formation and transport of vacuoles, but exocytosis and endocytosis continued at normal rates. Bulk retrieval was linked to remodeling of the actin network, and both processes were inhibited by 2-(4-morpholinyl)-8-phenyl-4H-1-benzopyran-4-one, an inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-kinase). The regulation of F-actin dynamics by Ca2+ and PI 3-kinase therefore played an important role in compensatory endocytosis at this synapse, but this role was confined to bulk membrane uptake. Capacitance measurements demonstrated that fast endocytosis and refilling of the rapidly releasable pool of vesicles were not dependent on F-actin or PI 3-kinase activity. The basic properties of bulk membrane retrieval at this synapse were very similar to macropinocytosis described in non-neural cells. Bulk retrieval did not play an essential role in maintaining the vesicle cycle during maintained stimulation, but we suggest that it may play a role in the structural plasticity of this synaptic terminal.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000181094300027

    View details for PubMedID 12598621

  • Mechanisms of pH regulation in the regulated secretory pathway JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY Wu, M. M., Grabe, M., Adams, S., Tsien, R. Y., Moore, H. P., Machen, T. E. 2001; 276 (35): 33027-33035


    A precise pH gradient between organelles of the regulated secretory pathway is required for sorting and processing of prohormones. We studied pH regulation in live endocrine cells by targeting biotin-based pH indicators to cellular organelles expressing avidin-chimera proteins. In AtT-20 cells, we found that steady-state pH decreased from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) (pH(ER) = 7.4 +/- 0.2, mean +/- S.D.) to Golgi (pH(G) = 6.2 +/- 0.4) to mature secretory granules (MSGs) (pH(MSG) = 5.5 +/- 0.4). Golgi and MSGs required active H(+) v-ATPases for acidification. ER, Golgi, and MSG steady-state pH values were also dependent upon the different H(+) leak rates across each membrane. However, neither steady-state pH(MSG) nor rates of passive H(+) leak were affected by Cl(-)-free solutions or valinomycin, indicating that MSG membrane potential was small and not a determinant of pH(MSG). Therefore, our data do not support earlier suggestions that organelle acidification is primarily regulated by Cl(-) conductances. Measurements of H(+) leak rates, buffer capacities, and estimates of surface areas and volumes of these organelles were applied to a mathematical model to determine the H(+) permeability (P(H+)) of each organelle membrane. We found that P(H+) decreased progressively from ER to Golgi to MSGs, and proper acidification of Golgi and MSGs required gradual decreases in P(H+) and successive increases in the active H(+) pump density.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000170746000087

    View details for PubMedID 11402049

  • Organelle pH studies using targeted avidin and fluorescein-biotin CHEMISTRY & BIOLOGY Wu, M. M., Llopis, J., Adams, S., McCaffery, J. M., Kulomaa, M. S., Machen, T. E., Moore, H. P., Tsien, R. Y. 2000; 7 (3): 197-209


    Mammalian organelles of the secretory pathway are of differing pH. The pH values form a decreasing gradient: the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is nearly neutral, the Golgi is mildly acidic and the secretory granules are more acidic still ( approximately pH 5). The mechanisms that regulate pH in these organelles are still unknown.Using a novel method, we tested whether differences in H(+) 'leak' and/or counterion conductances contributed to the pH difference between two secretory pathway organelles. A pH-sensitive, membrane-permeable fluorescein-biotin was targeted to endoplasmic-reticulum- and Golgi-localized avidin-chimera proteins in HeLa cells. In live, intact cells, ER pH (pH(ER)) was 7.2 +/- 0.2 and Golgi pH (pH(G)) was 6.4 +/- 0.3 and was dissipated by bafilomycin. Buffer capacities of the cytosol, ER and Golgi were all similar (6-10 mM/pH). ER membranes had an apparent H(+) permeability three times greater than that of Golgi membranes. Removal of either K(+) or Cl(-) did not affect ER and Golgi H(+) leak rates, or steady-state pH(G) and pH(ER).The Golgi is more acidic than the ER because it has an active H(+) pump and fewer or smaller H(+) leaks. Neither buffer capacity nor counterion permeabilities were key determinants of pH(G), pH(ER) or ER/Golgi H(+) leak rates.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000085780300007

    View details for PubMedID 10712929

  • Studying organelle physiology with fusion protein-targeted avidin and fluorescent biotin conjugates APPLICATIONS OF CHIMERIC GENES AND HYBRID PROTEINS PT B Wu, M. M., Llopis, J., Adams, S. R., McCaffery, J. M., Teter, K., Kulomaa, M. S., Machen, T. E., Moore, H. P., Tsien, R. Y. 2000; 327: 546-564

    View details for Web of Science ID 000165500500039

    View details for PubMedID 11045008

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