Intermittent Ca2+signals mediated by Orai1 regulate basal T cell motility.
Ca2+influx through Orai1 channels is crucial for several T cell functions, but a role in regulating basal cellular motility has not been described. Here, we show that inhibition of Orai1 channel activity increases average cell velocities by reducing the frequency of pauses in human T cells migrating through confined spaces, even in the absence of extrinsic cell contacts or antigen recognition. Utilizing a novel ratiometric genetically encoded cytosolic Ca2+indicator, Salsa6f, which permits real-time monitoring of cytosolic Ca2+along with cell motility, we show that spontaneous pauses during T cell motility in vitro and in vivo coincide with episodes of cytosolic Ca2+signaling. Furthermore, lymph node T cells exhibited two types of spontaneous Ca2+transients: short-duration 'sparkles' and longer duration global signals. Our results demonstrate that spontaneous and self-peptide MHC-dependent activation of Orai1 ensures random walk behavior in T cells to optimize immune surveillance.