Small-molecule screen identifies inhibitors of the neuronal K-Cl cotransporter KCC2.
ABSTRACT: KCC2, a neuronal-specific K-Cl cotransporter, plays a major role in maintaining intracellular Cl(-) concentration in neurons below its electrochemical equilibrium potential, thus favoring robust GABA hyperpolarizing or inhibitory responses. The pharmacology of the K-Cl cotransporter is dominated by loop diuretics such as furosemide and bumetanide, molecules used in clinical medicine because they inhibit the loop of Henle Na-K-2Cl cotransporter with much higher affinity. To identify molecules that affect KCC2 activity, we developed a fluorescence-based assay suitable for high-throughput screening (HTS) and used the assay to screen a library of 234,000 small molecules. We identified a large number of molecules that either decrease or increase the activity of the cotransporter. Here, we report the characterization of a small number of inhibitors, some of which inhibit KCC2 activity in the submicomolar range without substantially affecting NKCC1 activity. Using medicinal chemistry, we synthesized a number of variants, tested their effect on KCC2 function, and provide an analysis of structure/activity relationships. We also used one of the compounds to demonstrate competitive inhibition in regard to external [K(+)] versus noncompetitive inhibition in respect to external [Cl(-)].
Project description:The intracellular concentration of Cl(-) ([Cl(-)]i) in neurons is a highly regulated variable that is established and modulated by the finely tuned activity of the KCC2 cotransporter. Despite the importance of KCC2 for neurophysiology and its role in multiple neuropsychiatric diseases, our knowledge of the transporter's regulatory mechanisms is incomplete. Recent studies suggest that the phosphorylation state of KCC2 at specific residues in its cytoplasmic COOH terminus, such as Ser940 and Thr906/Thr1007, encodes discrete levels of transporter activity that elicit graded changes in neuronal Cl(-) extrusion to modulate the strength of synaptic inhibition via Cl(-)-permeable GABAA receptors. In this review, we propose that the functional and physical coupling of KCC2 to Cl(-)-sensitive kinase(s), such as the WNK1-SPAK kinase complex, constitutes a molecular "rheostat" that regulates [Cl(-)]i and thereby influences the functional plasticity of GABA. The rapid reversibility of (de)phosphorylation facilitates regulatory precision, and multisite phosphorylation allows for the control of KCC2 activity by different inputs via distinct or partially overlapping upstream signaling cascades that may become more or less important depending on the physiological context. While this adaptation mechanism is highly suited to maintaining homeostasis, its adjustable set points may render it vulnerable to perturbation and dysregulation. Finally, we suggest that pharmacological modulation of this kinase-KCC2 rheostat might be a particularly efficacious strategy to enhance Cl(-) extrusion and therapeutically restore GABA inhibition.
Project description:Dysfunctions in GABAergic inhibitory neural transmission occur in neuronal injuries and neurological disorders. The potassium-chloride cotransporter 2 (KCC2, SLC12A5) is a key modulator of inhibitory GABAergic inputs in healthy adult neurons, as its chloride (Cl-) extruding activity underlies the hyperpolarizing reversal potential for GABAA receptor Cl- currents (EGABA). Manipulation of KCC2 levels or activity improve symptoms associated with epilepsy and neuropathy. Recent works have now indicated that pharmacological enhancement of KCC2 function could reactivate dormant relay circuits in an injured mouse's spinal cord, leading to functional recovery and the attenuation of neuronal abnormality and disease phenotype associated with a mouse model of Rett syndrome (RTT). KCC2 interacts with Huntingtin and is downregulated in Huntington's disease (HD), which contributed to GABAergic excitation and memory deficits in the R6/2 mouse HD model. Here, these recent advances are highlighted, which attest to KCC2's growing potential as a therapeutic target for neuropathological conditions resulting from dysfunctional inhibitory input.
Project description:The type 2 K+/Cl- cotransporter (KCC2) allows neurons to maintain low intracellular levels of Cl-, a prerequisite for efficient synaptic inhibition. Reductions in KCC2 activity are evident in epilepsy; however, whether these deficits directly contribute to the underlying pathophysiology remains controversial. To address this issue, we created knock-in mice in which threonines 906 and 1007 within KCC2 have been mutated to alanines (KCC2-T906A/T1007A), which prevents its phospho-dependent inactivation. The respective mice appeared normal and did not show any overt phenotypes, and basal neuronal excitability was unaffected. KCC2-T906A/T1007A mice exhibited increased basal neuronal Cl- extrusion, without altering total or plasma membrane accumulation of KCC2. Critically, activity-induced deficits in synaptic inhibition were reduced in the mutant mice. Consistent with this, enhanced KCC2 was sufficient to limit chemoconvulsant-induced epileptiform activity. Furthermore, this increase in KCC2 function mitigated induction of aberrant high-frequency activity during seizures, highlighting depolarizing GABA as a key contributor to the pathological neuronal synchronization seen in epilepsy. Thus, our results demonstrate that potentiating KCC2 represents a therapeutic strategy to alleviate seizures.
Project description:It is generally thought that hippocampal neurons of perinatal rats and mice lack transport-functional K-Cl cotransporter KCC2, and that Cl- regulation is dominated by Cl- uptake via the Na-K-2Cl cotransporter NKCC1. Here, we demonstrate a robust enhancement of spontaneous hippocampal network events (giant depolarizing potentials [GDPs]) by the KCC2 inhibitor VU0463271 in neonatal rats and late-gestation, wild-type mouse embryos, but not in their KCC2-null littermates. VU0463271 increased the depolarizing GABAergic synaptic drive onto neonatal CA3 pyramidal neurons, increasing their spiking probability and synchrony during the rising phase of a GDP. Our data indicate that Cl- extrusion by KCC2 is involved in modulation of GDPs already at their developmental onset during the perinatal period in mice and rats.
Project description:GABAA receptor-mediated inhibition depends on the maintenance of low level intracellular [Cl-] concentration, which in adult depends on neuron specific K+-Cl- cotransporter-2 (KCC2). Previous studies have shown that KCC2 was downregulated in both epileptic patients and various epileptic animal models. However, the temporal relationship between KCC2 downregulation and seizure induction is unclear yet. In this study, we explored the temporal relationship and the influence of KCC2 downregulation on seizure induction. Significant downregulation of plasma membrane KCC2 was directly associated with severe (Racine Score III and above) behavioral seizures in vivo, and occurred before epileptiform bursting activities in vitro induced by convulsant. Overexpression of KCC2 using KCC2 plasmid effectively enhanced resistance to convulsant-induced epileptiform bursting activities in vitro. Furthermore, suppression of membrane KCC2 expression, using shRNAKCC2 plasmid in vitro and shRNAKCC2 containing lentivirus in vivo, induced spontaneous epileptiform bursting activities in vitro and Racine III seizure behaviors accompanied by epileptic EEG in vivo. Our findings novelly demonstrated that altered expression of KCC2 is not the consequence of seizure occurrence but likely is the contributing factor.
Project description:KCC2 is a neuron-specific K(+)-Cl(-) cotransporter that is essential for Cl(-) homeostasis and fast inhibitory synaptic transmission in the mature CNS. Despite the critical role of KCC2 in neurons, the mechanisms regulating its function are not understood. Here, we show that KCC2 is critically regulated by the single-pass transmembrane protein neuropilin and tolloid like-2 (Neto2). Neto2 is required to maintain the normal abundance of KCC2 and specifically associates with the active oligomeric form of the transporter. Loss of the Neto2:KCC2 interaction reduced KCC2-mediated Cl(-) extrusion, resulting in decreased synaptic inhibition in hippocampal neurons.
Project description:The K(+)/Cl(-) cotransporter (KCC2) allows adult neurons to maintain low intracellular Cl(-) levels, which are a prerequisite for efficient synaptic inhibition upon activation of ?-aminobutyric acid receptors. Deficits in KCC2 activity are implicated in epileptogenesis, but how increased neuronal activity leads to transporter inactivation is ill defined. In vitro, the activity of KCC2 is potentiated via phosphorylation of serine 940 (S940). Here we have examined the role this putative regulatory process plays in determining KCC2 activity during status epilepticus (SE) using knockin mice in which S940 is mutated to an alanine (S940A). In wild-type mice, SE induced by kainate resulted in dephosphorylation of S940 and KCC2 internalization. S940A homozygotes were viable and exhibited comparable basal levels of KCC2 expression and activity relative to WT mice. However, exposure of S940A mice to kainate induced lethality within 30 min of kainate injection and subsequent entrance into SE. We assessed the effect of the S940A mutation in cultured hippocampal neurons to explore the mechanisms underlying this phenotype. Under basal conditions, the mutation had no effect on neuronal Cl(-) extrusion. However, a selective deficit in KCC2 activity was seen in S940A neurons upon transient exposure to glutamate. Significantly, whereas the effects of glutamate on KCC2 function could be ameliorated in WT neurons with agents that enhance S940 phosphorylation, this positive modulation was lost in S940A neurons. Collectively our results suggest that phosphorylation of S940 plays a critical role in potentiating KCC2 activity to limit the development of SE.
Project description:Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder characterized by recurrent and unprovoked seizures thought to arise from impaired balance between neuronal excitation and inhibition. Our understanding of the neurophysiological mechanisms that render the brain epileptogenic remains incomplete, reflected by the lack of satisfactory treatments that can effectively prevent epileptic seizures without significant drug-related adverse effects. Type 2 K+-Cl- cotransporter (KCC2), encoded by SLC12A5, is important for chloride homeostasis and neuronal excitability. KCC2 dysfunction attenuates Cl- extrusion and impairs GABAergic inhibition, and can lead to neuronal hyperexcitability. Converging lines of evidence from human genetics have secured the link between KCC2 dysfunction and the development of epilepsy. Here, we review KCC2 mutations in human epilepsy and discuss potential therapeutic strategies based on the functional impact of these mutations. We suggest that a strategy of augmenting KCC2 activity by antagonizing its critical inhibitory phosphorylation sites may be a particularly efficacious method of facilitating Cl- extrusion and restoring GABA inhibition to treat medication-refractory epilepsy and other seizure disorders.
Project description:Despite its importance for ?-aminobutyric acid (GABA) inhibition and involvement in neurodevelopmental disease, the regulatory mechanisms of the K+/Cl- cotransporter KCC2 (encoded by SLC12A5) during maturation of the central nervous system (CNS) are not entirely understood. Here, we applied quantitative phosphoproteomics to systematically map sites of KCC2 phosphorylation during CNS development in the mouse. KCC2 phosphorylation at Thr906 and Thr1007, which inhibits KCC2 activity, underwent dephosphorylation in parallel with the GABA excitatory-inhibitory sequence in vivo. Knockin mice expressing the homozygous phosphomimetic KCC2 mutations T906E/T1007E (Kcc2E/E ), which prevented the normal developmentally regulated dephosphorylation of these sites, exhibited early postnatal death from respiratory arrest and a marked absence of cervical spinal neuron respiratory discharges. Kcc2E/E mice also displayed disrupted lumbar spinal neuron locomotor rhythmogenesis and touch-evoked status epilepticus associated with markedly impaired KCC2-dependent Cl- extrusion. These data identify a previously unknown phosphorylation-dependent KCC2 regulatory mechanism during CNS development that is essential for dynamic GABA-mediated inhibition and survival.
Project description:KCC2 is a neuron-specific K+-Cl- cotransporter essential for establishing the Cl- gradient required for hyperpolarizing inhibition in the central nervous system (CNS). KCC2 is highly localized to excitatory synapses where it regulates spine morphogenesis and AMPA receptor confinement. Aberrant KCC2 function contributes to human neurological disorders including epilepsy and neuropathic pain. Using functional proteomics, we identified the KCC2-interactome in the mouse brain to determine KCC2-protein interactions that regulate KCC2 function. Our analysis revealed that KCC2 interacts with diverse proteins, and its most predominant interactors play important roles in postsynaptic receptor recycling. The most abundant KCC2 interactor is a neuronal endocytic regulatory protein termed PACSIN1 (SYNDAPIN1). We verified the PACSIN1-KCC2 interaction biochemically and demonstrated that shRNA knockdown of PACSIN1 in hippocampal neurons increases KCC2 expression and hyperpolarizes the reversal potential for Cl-. Overall, our global native-KCC2 interactome and subsequent characterization revealed PACSIN1 as a novel and potent negative regulator of KCC2.