WNK3 kinase is a positive regulator of NKCC2 and NCC, renal cation-Cl- cotransporters required for normal blood pressure homeostasis.
ABSTRACT: WNK1 and WNK4 [WNK, with no lysine (K)] are serine-threonine kinases that function as molecular switches, eliciting coordinated effects on diverse ion transport pathways to maintain homeostasis during physiological perturbation. Gain-of-function mutations in either of these genes cause an inherited syndrome featuring hypertension and hyperkalemia due to increased renal NaCl reabsorption and decreased K(+) secretion. Here, we reveal unique biochemical and functional properties of WNK3, a related member of the WNK kinase family. Unlike WNK1 and WNK4, WNK3 is expressed throughout the nephron, predominantly at intercellular junctions. Because WNK4 is a potent inhibitor of members of the cation-cotransporter SLC12A family, we used coexpression studies in Xenopus oocytes to investigate the effect of WNK3 on NCC and NKCC2, related kidney-specific transporters that mediate apical NaCl reabsorption in the thick ascending limb and distal convoluted tubule, respectively. In contrast to WNK4's inhibitory activity, kinase-active WNK3 is a potent activator of both NKCC2 and NCC-mediated transport. Conversely, in its kinase-inactive state, WNK3 is a potent inhibitor of NKCC2 and NCC activity. WNK3 regulates the activity of these transporters by altering their expression at the plasma membrane. Wild-type WNK3 increases and kinase-inactive WNK3 decreases NKCC2 phosphorylation at Thr-184 and Thr-189, sites required for the vasopressin-mediated plasmalemmal translocation and activation of NKCC2 in vivo. The effects of WNK3 on these transporters and their coexpression in renal epithelia implicate WNK3 in NaCl, water, and blood pressure homeostasis, perhaps via signaling downstream of vasopressin.
Project description:Mutations in WNK1 and WNK4 kinase genes have been shown to cause a human hereditary hypertensive disease, pseudohypoaldosteronism type II (PHAII). We previously discovered that WNK kinases phosphorylate and activate OSR1/SPAK kinases that regulate renal SLC12A family transporters such as NKCC2 and NCC, and clarified that the constitutive activation of this cascade causes PHAII. WNK3, another member of the WNK kinase family, was reported to be a strong activator of NCC/NKCC2 when assayed in Xenopus oocytes, suggesting that WNK3 also plays a major role in regulating blood pressure and sodium reabsorption in the kidney. However, it remains to be determined whether WNK3 is in fact involved in the regulation of these transporters in vivo. To clarify this issue, we generated and analyzed WNK3 knockout mice. Surprisingly, phosphorylation and expression of OSR1, SPAK, NKCC2 and NCC did not decrease in knockout mouse kidney under normal and low-salt diets. Similarly, expression of epithelial Na channel and Na/H exchanger 3 were not affected in knockout mice. Na(+) and K(+) excretion in urine in WNK3 knockout mice was not affected under different salt diets. Blood pressure in WNK3 knockout mice was not lower under normal diet. However, lower blood pressure was observed in WNK3 knockout mice fed low-salt diet. WNK4 and WNK1 expression was slightly elevated in the knockout mice under low-salt diet, suggesting compensation for WNK3 knockout by these WNKs. Thus, WNK3 may have some role in the WNK-OSR1/SPAK-NCC/NKCC2 signal cascade in the kidney, but its contribution to total WNK kinase activity may be minimal.
Project description:The with-no-lysine (K) kinases, WNK1 and WNK4, are key regulators of blood pressure. Their mutations lead to familial hyperkalemic hypertension (FHHt), associated with an activation of the Na-Cl cotransporter (NCC). Although it is clear that WNK4 mutants activate NCC via Ste20 proline-alanine-rich kinase, the mechanisms responsible for WNK1-related FHHt and alterations in NCC activity are not as clear. We tested whether WNK1 modulates NCC through WNK4, as predicted by some models, by crossing our recently developed WNK1-FHHt mice (WNK1(+/FHHt)) with WNK4(-/-) mice. Surprisingly, the activated NCC, hypertension, and hyperkalemia of WNK1(+/FHHt) mice remain in the absence of WNK4. We demonstrate that WNK1 powerfully stimulates NCC in a WNK4-independent and Ste20 proline-alanine-rich kinase-dependent manner. Moreover, WNK4 decreases the WNK1 and WNK3-mediated activation of NCC. Finally, the formation of oligomers of WNK kinases through their C-terminal coiled-coil domain is essential for their activity toward NCC. In conclusion, WNK kinases form a network in which WNK4 associates with WNK1 and WNK3 to regulate NCC.
Project description:The pathogenesis of essential hypertension remains unknown, but thiazide diuretics are frequently recommended as first-line treatment. Recently, familial hyperkalemic hypertension (FHHt) was shown to result from activation of the thiazide-sensitive Na-Cl cotransporter (NCC) by mutations in WNK4, although the mechanism for this effect remains unknown. WNK kinases are unique members of the human kinome, intimately involved in maintaining electrolyte balance across cell membranes and epithelia. Previous work showed that WNK1, WNK4, and a kidney-specific isoform of WNK1 interact to regulate NCC activity, suggesting that WNK kinases form a signaling complex. Here, we report that WNK3, another member of the WNK kinase family expressed by distal tubule cells, interacts with WNK4 and WNK1 to regulate NCC in both human kidney cells and Xenopus oocytes, further supporting the WNK signaling complex hypothesis. We demonstrate that physiological regulation of NCC in oocytes results from antagonism between WNK3 and WNK4 and that FHHt-causing WNK4 mutations exert a dominant-negative effect on wild-type (WT) WNK4 to mimic a state of WNK3 excess. The results provide a mechanistic explanation for the divergent effects of WT and FHHt-mutant WNK4 on NCC activity, and for the dominant nature of FHHt in humans and genetically modified mice.
Project description:Loss of physiological regulation of the renal thiazide-sensitive Na+-Cl- cotransporter (NCC) by mutant WNK1 or WNK4 results in pseudohypoaldosteronism type II (PHAII) characterized by arterial hypertension and hyperkalemia. WNK4 normally inhibits NCC, but this effect is lost by eliminating WNK4 catalytic activity or through PHAII-type mutations. In contrast, another member of the WNK family, WNK3, activates NCC. The positive effect of WNK3 on NCC also requires its catalytic activity. Because the opposite effects of WNK3 and WNK4 on NCC were observed in the same expression system, sequences within the WNKs should endow these kinases with their activating or inhibiting properties. To gain insight into the structure-function relationships between the WNKs and NCC, we used a chimera approach between WNK3 and WNK4 to elucidate the domain of the WNKs responsible for the effects on NCC. Chimeras were constructed by swapping the amino or carboxyl terminus domains, which flank the central kinase domain, between WNK3 and WNK4. Our results show that the effect of chimeras toward NCC follows the amino-terminal domain. Thus the amino terminus of the WNKs contains the sequences that are required for their activating or inhibiting properties on NCC.
Project description:Dietary potassium deficiency activates thiazide-sensitive sodium chloride cotransport along the distal nephron. This may explain, in part, the hypertension and cardiovascular mortality observed in individuals who consume a low-potassium diet. Recent data suggest that plasma potassium affects the distal nephron directly by influencing intracellular chloride, an inhibitor of the with-no-lysine kinase (WNK)-Ste20p-related proline- and alanine-rich kinase (SPAK) pathway. As previous studies used extreme dietary manipulations, we sought to determine whether the relationship between potassium and NaCl cotransporter (NCC) is physiologically relevant and clarify the mechanisms involved. We report that modest changes in both dietary and plasma potassium affect NCC in vivo. Kinase assay studies showed that chloride inhibits WNK4 kinase activity at lower concentrations than it inhibits activity of WNK1 or WNK3. Also, chloride inhibited WNK4 within the range of distal cell chloride concentration. Mutation of a previously identified WNK chloride-binding motif converted WNK4 effects on SPAK from inhibitory to stimulatory in mammalian cells. Disruption of this motif in WNKs 1, 3, and 4 had different effects on NCC, consistent with the three WNKs having different chloride sensitivities. Thus, potassium effects on NCC are graded within the physiological range, which explains how unique chloride-sensing properties of WNK4 enable it to mediate effects of potassium on NCC in vivo.
Project description:The WNK (with no lysine kinase)-SPAK (SPS1-related proline/alanine-rich kinase)/OSR1 (oxidative stress-responsive kinase 1) signalling pathway plays an important role in controlling mammalian blood pressure by modulating the activity of ion co-transporters in the kidney. Recent studies have identified Gordon's hypertension syndrome patients with mutations in either CUL3 (Cullin-3) or the BTB protein KLHL3 (Kelch-like 3). CUL3 assembles with BTB proteins to form Cullin-RING E3 ubiquitin ligase complexes. To explore how a CUL3-KLHL3 complex might operate, we immunoprecipitated KLHL3 and found that it associated strongly with WNK isoforms and CUL3, but not with other components of the pathway [SPAK/OSR1 or NCC (Na(+)/Cl(-) co-transporter)/NKCC1 (Na(+)/K(+)/2Cl(-) co-transporter 1)]. Strikingly, 13 out of the 15 dominant KLHL3 disease mutations analysed inhibited binding to WNK1 or CUL3. The recombinant wild-type CUL3-KLHL3 E3 ligase complex, but not a disease-causing CUL3-KLHL3[R528H] mutant complex, ubiquitylated WNK1 in vitro. Moreover, siRNA (small interfering RNA)-mediated knockdown of CUL3 increased WNK1 protein levels and kinase activity in HeLa cells. We mapped the KLHL3 interaction site in WNK1 to a non-catalytic region (residues 479-667). Interestingly, the equivalent region in WNK4 encompasses residues that are mutated in Gordon's syndrome patients. Strikingly, we found that the Gordon's disease-causing WNK4[E562K] and WNK4[Q565E] mutations, as well as the equivalent mutation in the WNK1[479-667] fragment, abolished the ability to interact with KLHL3. These results suggest that the CUL3-KLHL3 E3 ligase complex regulates blood pressure via its ability to interact with and ubiquitylate WNK isoforms. The findings of the present study also emphasize that the missense mutations in WNK4 that cause Gordon's syndrome strongly inhibit interaction with KLHL3. This could elevate blood pressure by increasing the expression of WNK4 thereby stimulating inappropriate salt retention in the kidney by promoting activation of the NCC/NKCC2 ion co-transporters. The present study reveals how mutations that disrupt the ability of an E3 ligase to interact with and ubiquitylate a critical cellular substrate such as WNK isoforms can trigger a chronic disease such as hypertension.
Project description:Familial hyperkalemic hypertension (FHHt) can be mainly attributed to increased activity of the renal Na+:Cl- cotransporter (NCC), which is caused by altered expression and regulation of the with-no-lysine (K) 1 (WNK1) or WNK4 kinases. The WNK1 gene gives rise to a kidney-specific isoform that lacks the kinase domain (KS-WNK1), the expression of which occurs primarily in the distal convoluted tubule. The role played by KS-WNK1 in the modulation of the WNK/STE20-proline-alanine rich kinase (SPAK)/NCC pathway remains elusive. In the present study, we assessed the effect of human KS-WNK1 on NCC activity and on the WNK4-SPAK pathway. Microinjection of oocytes with human KS-WNK1 cRNA induces remarkable activation and phosphorylation of SPAK and NCC. The effect of KS-WNK1 was abrogated by eliminating a WNK-WNK-interacting domain and by a specific WNK inhibitor, WNK463, indicating that the activation of SPAK/NCC by KS-WNK1 is due to interaction with another WNK kinase. Under control conditions in oocytes, the activating serine 335 of the WNK4 T loop is not phosphorylated. In contrast, this serine becomes phosphorylated when the intracellular chloride concentration ([Cl-]i) is reduced or when KS-WNK1 is coexpressed with WNK4. KS-WNK1-mediated activation of WNK4 is not due to a decrease of the [Cl-]i. Coimmunoprecipitation analysis revealed that KS-WNK1 and WNK4 interact with each other and that WNK4 becomes autophosphorylated at serine 335 when it is associated with KS-WNK1. Together, these observations suggest that WNK4 becomes active in the presence of KS-WNK1, despite a constant [Cl-]i.
Project description:The Na(+):K(+):2Cl(-) cotransporter (NKCC2) is the target of loop diuretics and is mutated in Bartter's syndrome, a heterogeneous autosomal recessive disease that impairs salt reabsorption in the kidney's thick ascending limb (TAL). Despite the importance of this cation/chloride cotransporter (CCC), the mechanisms that underlie its regulation are largely unknown. Here, we show that intracellular chloride depletion in Xenopus laevis oocytes, achieved by either coexpression of the K-Cl cotransporter KCC2 or low-chloride hypotonic stress, activates NKCC2 by promoting the phosphorylation of three highly conserved threonines (96, 101, and 111) in the amino terminus. Elimination of these residues renders NKCC2 unresponsive to reductions of [Cl(-)](i). The chloride-sensitive activation of NKCC2 requires the interaction of two serine-threonine kinases, WNK3 (related to WNK1 and WNK4, genes mutated in a Mendelian form of hypertension) and SPAK (a Ste20-type kinase known to interact with and phosphorylate other CCCs). WNK3 is positioned upstream of SPAK and appears to be the chloride-sensitive kinase. Elimination of WNK3's unique SPAK-binding motif prevents its activation of NKCC2, as does the mutation of threonines 96, 101, and 111. A catalytically inactive WNK3 mutant also completely prevents NKCC2 activation by intracellular chloride depletion. Together these data reveal a chloride-sensing mechanism that regulates NKCC2 and provide insight into how increases in the level of intracellular chloride in TAL cells, as seen in certain pathological states, could drastically impair renal salt reabsorption.
Project description:Disturbances in markers of cortical ?-aminobutyric acid neurotransmission are a common finding in schizophrenia. The nature of ?-aminobutyric acid neurotransmission (hyperpolarizing or depolarizing) depends on the local intracellular chloride concentration. In the central nervous system, the intracellular chloride level is determined by the activity of 2 cation-chloride transporters, NKCC1 and KCC2. The activities of these transporters are in turn regulated by a network of serine-threonine kinases that includes OXSR1, STK39, and the WNK kinases WNK1, WNK3, and WNK4.To compare the levels of NKCC1, KCC2, OXSR1, STK39, WNK1, WNK3, and WNK4 transcripts in prefrontal cortex area 9 between subjects with schizophrenia and healthy comparison subjects.Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction technique was used to measure transcript levels in the prefrontal cortex.Human brain specimens were obtained from autopsies conducted at the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.Postmortem brain specimens from 42 subjects with schizophrenia and 42 matched healthy comparison subjects. Brain specimens from 18 macaque monkeys exposed to haloperidol, olanzapine, or sham long-term.Relative expression levels for NKCC1, KCC2, OXSR1, STK39, WNK1, WNK3, and WNK4 transcripts compared with the mean expression level of 3 housekeeping transcripts.OXSR1 and WNK3 transcripts were substantially overexpressed in subjects with schizophrenia relative to comparison subjects. In contrast, NKCC1, KCC2, STK39, WNK1, and WNK4 transcript levels did not differ between subject groups. OXSR1 and WNK3 transcript expression levels were not changed in antipsychotic-exposed monkeys and were not affected by potential confounding factors in the subjects with schizophrenia.In schizophrenia, increased expression levels, and possibly increased kinase activities, of OXSR1 and WNK3 may shift the balance of chloride transport by NKCC1 and KCC2 and alter the nature of ?-aminobutyric acid neurotransmission in the prefrontal cortex.
Project description:By analysing the pathogenesis of a hereditary hypertensive disease, PHAII (pseudohypoaldosteronism type II), we previously discovered that WNK (with-no-lysine kinase)-OSR1/SPAK (oxidative stress-responsive 1/Ste20-like proline/alanine-rich kinase) cascade regulates NCC (Na-Cl co-transporter) in the DCT (distal convoluted tubules) of the kidney. However, the role of WNK4 in the regulation of NCC remains controversial. To address this, we generated and analysed WNK4-/- mice. Although a moderate decrease in SPAK phosphorylation and a marked increase in WNK1 expression were evident in the kidneys of WNK4-/- mice, the amount of phosphorylated and total NCC decreased to almost undetectable levels, indicating that WNK4 is the major WNK positively regulating NCC, and that WNK1 cannot compensate for WNK4 deficiency in the DCT. Insulin- and low-potassium diet-induced NCC phosphorylation were abolished in WNK4-/- mice, establishing that both signals to NCC were mediated by WNK4. As shown previously, a high-salt diet decreases phosphorylated and total NCC in WNK4+/+ mice via AngII (angiotensin II) and aldosterone suppression. This was not ameliorated by WNK4 knock out, excluding the negative regulation of WNK4 on NCC postulated to be active in the absence of AngII stimulation. Thus, WNK4 is the major positive regulator of NCC in the kidneys.