Regulation of the NKCC2 ion cotransporter by SPAK-OSR1-dependent and -independent pathways.
ABSTRACT: Ion cotransporters, such as the Na(+)/Cl(-) cotransporter (NCC), control renal salt re-absorption and are regulated by the WNK-signalling pathway, which is over-stimulated in patients suffering from Gordon's hypertension syndrome. Here, we study the regulation of the NKCC2 (SLC12A1) ion cotransporter that contributes towards ~25% of renal salt re-absorption and is inhibited by loop-diuretic hypertensive drugs. We demonstrate that hypotonic low-chloride conditions that activate the WNK1-SPAK and OSR1 pathway promote phosphorylation of NKCC2 isoforms (A, B and F) at five residues (Ser91, Thr95, Thr100, Thr105 and Ser130). We establish that the SPAK and OSR1 kinases activated by WNK interact with an RFQV motif on NKCC2 and directly phosphorylate Thr95, Thr100, Thr105 and, possibly, Ser91. Our data indicate that a SPAK-OSR1-independent kinase, perhaps AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), phosphorylates Ser130 and that phosphorylation of Thr105 and Ser130 plays the most important roles in stimulating NKCC2 activity. In contrast with NCC, whose membrane translocation is triggered by SPAK-OSR1 phosphorylation, NKCC2 appears to be constitutively at the membrane. Our findings provide new insights into how NKCC2 is regulated and suggest that inhibitors of SPAK and/or OSR1 for the treatment of hypertension would be therapeutically distinct from thiazide or loop diuretics, as they would suppress the activity of both NCC and NKCC2.
Project description:Mutations within the with-no-K(Lys) (WNK) kinases cause Gordon's syndrome characterized by hypertension and hyperkalaemia. WNK kinases phosphorylate and activate the STE20/SPS1-related proline/alanine-rich kinase (SPAK) protein kinase, which phosphorylates and stimulates the key Na(+):Cl(-) cotransporter (NCC) and Na(+):K(+):2Cl(-) cotransporters (NKCC2) cotransporters that control salt reabsorption in the kidney. To define the importance of this pathway in regulating blood pressure, we generated knock-in mice in which SPAK cannot be activated by WNKs. The SPAK knock-in animals are viable, but display significantly reduced blood pressure that was salt-dependent. These animals also have markedly reduced phosphorylation of NCC and NKCC2 cotransporters at the residues phosphorylated by SPAK. This was also accompanied by a reduction in the expression of NCC and NKCC2 protein without changes in messenger RNA (mRNA) levels. On a normal Na(+)-diet, the SPAK knock-in mice were normokalaemic, but developed mild hypokalaemia when the renin-angiotensin system was activated by a low Na(+)-diet. These observations establish that SPAK plays an important role in controlling blood pressure in mammals. Our results imply that SPAK inhibitors would be effective at reducing blood pressure by lowering phosphorylation as well as expression of NCC and NKCC2. See accompanying Closeup by Maria Castañeda-Bueno and Gerald Gamba (DOI 10.1002/emmm.200900059).
Project description:Metabolic syndrome patients have insulin resistance, which causes hyperinsulinemia, which in turn causes aberrant increased renal sodium reabsorption. The precise mechanisms underlying this greater salt sensitivity of hyperinsulinemic patients remain unclear. Abnormal activation of the recently identified with-no-lysine kinase (WNK)-oxidative stress-responsive kinase 1 (OSR1)/STE20/SPS1-related proline/alanine-rich kinase (SPAK)-NaCl cotransporter (NCC) phosphorylation cascade results in the salt-sensitive hypertension of pseudohypoaldosteronism type II. Here, we report a study of renal WNK-OSR1/SPAK-NCC cascade activation in the db/db mouse model of hyperinsulinemic metabolic syndrome. Thiazide sensitivity was increased, suggesting greater activity of NCC in db/db mice. In fact, increased phosphorylation of OSR1/SPAK and NCC was observed. In both SpakT243A/+ and Osr1T185A/+ knock-in db/db mice, which carry mutations that disrupt the signal from WNK kinases, increased phosphorylation of NCC and elevated blood pressure were completely corrected, indicating that phosphorylation of SPAK and OSR1 by WNK kinases is required for the increased activation and phosphorylation of NCC in this model. Renal phosphorylated Akt was increased in db/db mice, suggesting that increased NCC phosphorylation is regulated by the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt signaling cascade in the kidney in response to hyperinsulinemia. A phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor (NVP-BEZ235) corrected the increased OSR1/SPAK-NCC phosphorylation. Another more specific phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor (GDC-0941) and an Akt inhibitor (MK-2206) also inhibited increased NCC phosphorylation. These results indicate that the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt signaling pathway activates the WNK-OSR1/SPAK-NCC phosphorylation cascade in db/db mice. This mechanism may play a role in the pathogenesis of salt-sensitive hypertension in human hyperinsulinemic conditions, such as the metabolic syndrome.
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:K<sup>+</sup> deficiency stimulates renal salt reuptake via the Na<sup>+</sup>-Cl<sup>-</sup> cotransporter (NCC) of the distal convoluted tubule (DCT), thereby reducing K<sup>+</sup> losses in downstream nephron segments while increasing NaCl retention and blood pressure. NCC activation is mediated by a kinase cascade involving with no lysine (WNK) kinases upstream of Ste20-related proline-alanine-rich kinase (SPAK) and oxidative stress-responsive kinase-1 (OSR1). In K<sup>+</sup> deficiency, WNKs and SPAK/OSR1 concentrate in spherical cytoplasmic domains in the DCT termed "WNK bodies," the significance of which is undetermined. By feeding diets of varying salt and K<sup>+</sup> content to mice and using genetically engineered mouse lines, we aimed to clarify whether WNK bodies contribute to WNK-SPAK/OSR1-NCC signaling. Phosphorylated SPAK/OSR1 was present both at the apical membrane and in WNK bodies within 12 h of dietary K<sup>+</sup> deprivation, and it was promptly suppressed by K<sup>+</sup> loading. In WNK4-deficient mice, however, larger WNK bodies formed, containing unphosphorylated WNK1, SPAK, and OSR1. This suggests that WNK4 is the primary active WNK isoform in WNK bodies and catalyzes SPAK/OSR1 phosphorylation therein. We further examined mice carrying a kidney-specific deletion of the basolateral K<sup>+</sup> channel-forming protein Kir4.1, which is required for the DCT to sense plasma K<sup>+</sup> concentration. These mice displayed remnant mosaic expression of Kir4.1 in the DCT, and upon K<sup>+</sup> deprivation, WNK bodies developed only in Kir4.1-expressing cells. We postulate a model of DCT function in which NCC activity is modulated by plasma K<sup>+</sup> concentration via WNK4-SPAK/OSR1 interactions within WNK bodies.
Project description:The renal thick ascending limb (TAL) and distal convoluted tubule (DCT) play central roles in salt homeostasis and blood pressure regulation. An emerging model suggests that bumetanide- and thiazide-sensitive NaCl transporters (NKCC2 and NCC) along these segments are phosphorylated and activated by WNK kinases, via SPAK and OSR1. Here, we show that a kidney-specific SPAK isoform, which lacks the kinase domain, inhibits phosphorylation of NCC and NKCC2 by full-length SPAK in vitro. Kidney-specific SPAK is highly expressed along the TAL, whereas full-length SPAK is more highly expressed along the DCT. As predicted from the differential expression, SPAK knockout in animals has divergent effects along TAL and DCT, with increased phosphorylated NKCC2 along TAL and decreased phosphorylated NCC along DCT. In mice, extracellular fluid volume depletion shifts SPAK isoform abundance to favor NaCl retention along both segments, indicating that a SPAK isoform switch modulates sodium avidity along the distal nephron.
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:Na(+)-K(+)-2Cl(-) cotransporters (NKCCs), including NKCC1 and renal-specific NKCC2, and the Na(+)-Cl(-) cotransporter (NCC) play pivotal roles in the regulation of blood pressure (BP) and renal NaCl reabsorption. Oxidative stress-responsive kinase-1 (OSR1) is a known upstream regulator of N(K)CCs. We generated and analyzed global and kidney tubule-specific (KSP) OSR1 KO mice to elucidate the physiological role of OSR1 in vivo, particularly on BP and kidney function. Although global OSR1(-/-) mice were embryonically lethal, OSR1(+/-) mice had low BP associated with reduced phosphorylated (p) STE20 (sterile 20)/SPS1-related proline/alanine-rich kinase (SPAK) and p-NKCC1 abundance in aortic tissue and attenuated p-NKCC2 abundance with increased total and p-NCC expression in the kidney. KSP-OSR1(-/-) mice had normal BP and hypercalciuria and maintained significant hypokalemia on a low-K(+) diet. KSP-OSR1(-/-) mice exhibited impaired Na(+) reabsorption in the thick ascending loop on a low-Na(+) diet accompanied by remarkably decreased expression of p-NKCC2 and a blunted response to furosemide, an NKCC2 inhibitor. The expression of total SPAK and p-SPAK was significantly increased in parallel to that of total NCC and p-NCC despite unchanged total NKCC2 expression. These results suggest that, globally, OSR1 is involved in the regulation of BP and renal tubular Na(+) reabsorption mainly via the activation of NKCC1 and NKCC2. In the kidneys, NKCC2 but not NCC is the main target of OSR1 and the reduced p-NKCC2 in KSP-OSR1(-/-) mice may lead to a Bartter-like syndrome.
Project description:Na(+)-dependent chloride cotransporters (NKCC1, NKCC2, and NCC) are activated by phosphorylation to play critical roles in diverse physiological responses, including renal salt balance, hearing, epithelial fluid secretion, and volume regulation. Serine threonine kinase WNK4 (With No K = lysine member 4) and members of the Ste20 kinase family, namely SPAK and OSR1 (Ste20-related proline/alanine-rich kinase, Oxidative stress-responsive kinase) govern phosphorylation. According to present understanding, WNK4 phosphorylates key residues within SPAK/OSR1 leading to kinase activation, allowing SPAK/OSR1 to bind to and phosphorylate NKCC1, NKCC2, and NCC. Recently, the calcium-binding protein 39 (Cab39) has emerged as a binding partner and enhancer of SPAK/OSR1 activity, facilitating kinase autoactivation and promoting phosphorylation of the cotransporters. In the present study, we provide evidence showing that Cab39 differentially interacts with WNK4 and SPAK/OSR1 to switch the classic two kinase cascade into a signal kinase transduction mechanism. We found that WNK4 in association with Cab39 activates NKCC1 in a SPAK/OSR1-independent manner. We discovered that WNK4 possesses a domain that bears close resemblance to the SPAK/OSR1 C-terminal CCT/PF2 domain, which is required for physical interaction between the Ste20 kinases and the Na(+)-driven chloride cotransporters. Modeling, yeast two-hybrid, and functional data reveal that this PF2-like domain located downstream of the catalytic domain in WNK4 promotes the direct interaction between the kinase and NKCC1. We conclude that in addition to SPAK and OSR1, WNK4 is able to anchor itself to the N-terminal domain of NKCC1 and to promote cotransporter activation.
Project description:The thiazide-sensitive NaCl cotransporter (NCC) is important for renal salt handling and blood-pressure homeostasis. The canonical NCC-activating pathway consists of With-No-Lysine (WNK) kinases and their downstream effector kinases SPAK and OSR1, which phosphorylate NCC directly. The upstream mechanisms that connect physiological stimuli to this system remain obscure. Here, we have shown that aldosterone activates SPAK/OSR1 via WNK1. We identified 2 alternatively spliced exons embedded within a proline-rich region of WNK1 that contain PY motifs, which bind the E3 ubiquitin ligase NEDD4-2. PY motif-containing WNK1 isoforms were expressed in human kidney, and these isoforms were efficiently degraded by the ubiquitin proteasome system, an effect reversed by the aldosterone-induced kinase SGK1. In gene-edited cells, WNK1 deficiency negated regulatory effects of NEDD4-2 and SGK1 on NCC, suggesting that WNK1 mediates aldosterone-dependent activity of the WNK/SPAK/OSR1 pathway. Aldosterone infusion increased proline-rich WNK1 isoform abundance in WT mice but did not alter WNK1 abundance in hypertensive Nedd4-2 KO mice, which exhibit high baseline WNK1 and SPAK/OSR1 activity toward NCC. Conversely, hypotensive Sgk1 KO mice exhibited low WNK1 expression and activity. Together, our findings indicate that the proline-rich exons are modular cassettes that convert WNK1 into a NEDD4-2 substrate, thereby linking aldosterone and other NEDD4-2-suppressing antinatriuretic hormones to NCC phosphorylation status.
Project description:Stimulation of the OSR1 (Oxidative stress-responsive kinase-1)/SPAK [STE20 (sterile 20)/SPS1-related proline/alanine-rich kinase]-NCC (Na(+)-Cl(-) cotransporter) signaling cascade plays an important role in the WNK [With-No-Lysine (K)] kinase 4 D561A knock-in mouse model of pseudohypoaldosteronism type II (PHA II) characterized by salt-sensitive hypertension and hyperkalemia. The aim of this study was to investigate the respective roles of Osr1 and Spak in the pathogenesis of PHA II in vivo. Wnk4 (D561A/+) mice were crossed with kidney tubule-specific (KSP) Osr1 knockout (KSP-Osr1 (-/-)) and Spak knockout (Spak (-/-)) mice. Blood pressure, plasma and urine biochemistries, and the relevant protein expression in the kidneys were examined. Wnk4 (D561A/+), KSP-Osr1 (-/-), and Spak (-/-) mice recapitulated the phenotypes of PHA II, Bartter-like syndrome, and Gitelman syndrome, respectively. Wnk4 (D561A/+).KSP-Osr1 (-/-) remained phenotypically PHA II while Wnk4 (D561A/+).Spak (-/-) mice became normotensive and lacked the PHA II phenotype. Phosphorylated Spak and Ncc were similarly increased in both Wnk4 (D561A/+) and Wnk4 (D561A/+).KSP-Osr1 (-/-) mice while phosphorylated Ncc normalized in Wnk4 (D561A/+).Spak (-/-) mice. Furthermore, Wnk4 (D561A/+).KSP-Osr1 (-/-) mice exhibited exaggerated salt excretion in response to thiazide diuretics while Wnk4 (D561A/+).Spak (-/-) mice exhibited normal responses. Wnk4(D561A/+).Spak (-/-).KSP-Osr1 (-/-) triple mutant mice had low blood pressure and diminished phosphorylated Ncc. Both SPAK and OSR1 are important in the maintenance of blood pressure but activation of SPAK-NCC plays the dominant role in PHA II. SPAK may be a therapeutic target for disorders with salt-sensitive hypertension related to WNK4 activation.