Calcium entry into the injured cell activates their repair, but how cells cope with this excess calcium is not fully understood. Chandra et al. show that cells sequester this calcium in the ER, which is compromised in muscular dystrophy caused by the loss of an ER-resident calcium-activated chloride channel.
Of the many crucial functions of the ER, homeostasis of physiological calcium increase is critical for signaling. Plasma membrane (PM) injury causes a pathological calcium influx. Here, we show that the ER helps clear this surge in cytoplasmic calcium through an ER-resident calcium pump, SERCA, and a calcium-activated ion channel, Anoctamin 5 (ANO5). SERCA imports calcium into the ER, and ANO5 supports this by maintaining electroneutrality of the ER lumen through anion import. Preventing either of these transporter activities causes cytosolic calcium overload and disrupts PM repair (PMR). ANO5 deficit in limb girdle muscular dystrophy 2L (LGMD2L) patient cells compromises their cytosolic and ER calcium homeostasis. By generating a mouse model of LGMD2L, we find that PM injury causes cytosolic calcium overload and compromises the ability of ANO5-deficient myofibers to repair. Addressing calcium overload in ANO5-deficient myofibers enables them to repair, supporting the requirement of the ER in calcium homeostasis in injured cells and facilitating PMR.