A trafficking-deficient mutant of KCC3 reveals dominant-negative effects on K-Cl cotransport function.
ABSTRACT: The K-Cl cotransporter (KCC) functions in maintaining chloride and volume homeostasis in a variety of cells. In the process of cloning the mouse KCC3 cDNA, we came across a cloning mutation (E289G) that rendered the cotransporter inactive in functional assays in Xenopus laevis oocytes. Through biochemical studies, we demonstrate that the mutant E289G cotransporter is glycosylation-deficient, does not move beyond the endoplasmic reticulum or the early Golgi, and thus fails to reach the plasma membrane. We establish through co-immunoprecipitation experiments that both wild-type and mutant KCC3 with KCC2 results in the formation of hetero-dimers. We further demonstrate that formation of these hetero-dimers prevents the proper trafficking of the cotransporter to the plasma membrane, resulting in a significant decrease in cotransporter function. This effect is due to interaction between the K-Cl cotransporter isoforms, as this was not observed when KCC3-E289G was co-expressed with NKCC1. Our studies also reveal that the glutamic acid residue is essential to K-Cl cotransporter function, as the corresponding mutation in KCC2 also leads to an absence of function. Interestingly, mutation of this conserved glutamic acid residue in the Na(+)-dependent cation-chloride cotransporters had no effect on NKCC1 function in isosmotic conditions, but diminished cotransporter activity under hypertonicity. Together, our data show that the glutamic acid residue (E289) is essential for proper trafficking and function of KCCs and that expression of a non-functional but full-length K-Cl cotransporter might results in dominant-negative effects on other K-Cl cotransporters.
Project description:The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) is a circadian oscillator and biological clock. Cell-to-cell communication is important for synchronization among SCN neuronal oscillators and the great majority of SCN neurons use GABA as a neurotransmitter, the principal inhibitory neurotransmitter in the adult CNS. Acting via the ionotropic GABA(A) receptor, a chloride ion channel, GABA typically evokes inhibitory responses in neurons via Cl(-) influx. Within the SCN GABA evokes both inhibitory and excitatory responses although the mechanism underlying GABA-evoked excitation in the SCN is unknown. GABA-evoked depolarization in immature neurons in several regions of the brain is a function of intracellular chloride concentration, regulated largely by the cation-chloride cotransporters NKCC1 (sodium/potassium/chloride cotransporter for chloride entry) and KCC1-4 (potassium/chloride cotransporters for chloride egress). It is well established that changes in the expression of the cation-chloride cotransporters through development determines the polarity of the response to GABA. To understand the mechanisms underlying GABA-evoked excitation in the SCN, we examined the SCN expression of cation-chloride cotransporters. Previously we reported that the K(+)/Cl(-) cotransporter KCC2, a neuron-specific chloride extruder conferring GABA's more typical inhibitory effects, is expressed exclusively in vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) neurons in the SCN. Here we report that the K(+)/Cl(-) cotransporter isoforms KCC4 and KCC3 are expressed solely in vasopressin (VP) neurons in the rat SCN whereas KCC1 is expressed in VIP neurons, similar to KCC2. NKCC1 is expressed in VIP, GRP and VP neurons in the SCN as is WNK3, a chloride-sensitive neuron-specific with no serine-threonine kinase which modulates intracellular chloride concentration via opposing actions on NKCC and KCC cotransporters. The heterogeneous distribution of cation-chloride cotransporters in the SCN suggests that Cl(-) levels are differentially regulated within VIP/GRP and VP neurons. We suggest that GABA's excitatory action is more likely to be evoked in VP neurons that express KCC4.
Project description:Cation chloride cotransporters (CCC) play an essential role for neuronal chloride homeostasis. K(+)-Cl(-) cotransporter (KCC2), is the principal Cl(-)-extruder, whereas Na(+)-K(+)-Cl(-) cotransporter (NKCC1), is the major Cl(-)-uptake mechanism in many neurons. As a consequence, the action of the inhibitory neurotransmitters gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glycine strongly depend on the activity of these two transporters. Knowledge of the mechanisms involved in ion transport and regulation is thus of great importance to better understand normal and disturbed brain function. Although no overall 3-dimensional crystal structures are yet available, recent molecular and phylogenetic studies and modeling have provided new and exciting insights into structure-function relationships of CCC. Here, we will summarize our current knowledge of the gross structural organization of the proteins, their functional domains, ion binding and translocation sites, and the established role of individual amino acids (aa). A major focus will be laid on the delineation of shared and distinct organizational principles between KCC2 and NKCC1. Exploiting the richness of recently generated genome data across the tree of life, we will also explore the molecular evolution of these features.
Project description:The regulation of Cl(-) transport into and out of cells plays a critical role in the maintenance of intracellular volume and the excitability of GABA responsive neurons. The molecular determinants of these seemingly diverse processes are related ion cotransporters: Cl(-) influx is mediated by the Na-K-2Cl cotransporter NKCC1 and Cl(-) efflux via K-Cl cotransporters, KCC1 or KCC2. A Cl(-)/volume-sensitive kinase has been proposed to coordinately regulate these activities via altered phosphorylation of the transporters; phosphorylation activates NKCC1 while inhibiting KCCs, and dephosphorylation has the opposite effects. We show that WNK3, a member of the WNK family of serine-threonine kinases, colocalizes with NKCC1 and KCC1/2 in diverse Cl(-)-transporting epithelia and in neurons expressing ionotropic GABA(A) receptors in the hippocampus, cerebellum, cerebral cortex, and reticular activating system. By expression studies in Xenopus oocytes, we show that kinase-active WNK3 increases Cl(-) influx via NKCC1, and that it inhibits Cl(-) exit through KCC1 and KCC2; kinase-inactive WNK3 has the opposite effects. WNK3's effects are imparted via altered phosphorylation and surface expression of its downstream targets and bypass the normal requirement of altered tonicity for activation of these transporters. Together, these data indicate that WNK3 can modulate the level of intracellular Cl(-) via opposing actions on entry and exit pathways. They suggest that WNK3 is part of the Cl(-)/volume-sensing mechanism necessary for the maintenance of cell volume during osmotic stress and the dynamic modulation of GABA neurotransmission.
Project description:Glycine and GABA, the dominant inhibitory neurotransmitters in the CNS, assume a depolarizing role in early development, leading to increased cytoplasmic Ca2+ levels and action potentials. The effect is thought to be of some significance for maturation. The depolarization is caused by Cl- efflux, and chloride transporters contribute to the phenomenon by raising the intracellular Cl- concentration ([Cl-]i) above equilibrium, thereby generating an outward-directed electrochemical gradient for Cl-. In mature neurons, the [Cl-]i is reduced below equilibrium, thus rendering glycine activity hyperpolarizing. Here, we investigated the temporal expression of the K-Cl cotransporter KCC2 and the Na-K-Cl cotransporter NKCC1 in the lateral superior olive (LSO) of rats and mice. The two cation cotransporters normally extrude and accumulate Cl-, respectively. As evidenced by several methods, KCC2 mRNA was present in LSO neurons during both the depolarizing and hyperpolarizing periods. Western blots confirmed a constant level of KCC2 in the brainstem, and immunohistochemistry showed that the protein is diffusely distributed within neonatal LSO neurons, becoming integrated into the plasma membrane only with increasing age. The glycine reversal potential in KCC2 knock-out mice differed significantly from that determined in wild-type controls at postnatal day 12 (P12) but not at P3, demonstrating that KCC2 is not active in neonates, despite its early presence. NKCC1 mRNA was not detected during the depolarizing phase in the LSO, implying that this transporter does not contribute to the high [Cl-]i. Our results reveal major differences in the development of [Cl-]i regulation mechanisms seen in brainstem versus forebrain regions.
Project description:Modulation of intracellular chloride concentration ([Cl(-)](i)) plays a fundamental role in cell volume regulation and neuronal response to GABA. Cl(-) exit via K-Cl cotransporters (KCCs) is a major determinant of [Cl(-)](I); however, mechanisms governing KCC activities are poorly understood. We identified two sites in KCC3 that are rapidly dephosphorylated in hypotonic conditions in cultured cells and human red blood cells in parallel with increased transport activity. Alanine substitutions at these sites result in constitutively active cotransport. These sites are highly phosphorylated in plasma membrane KCC3 in isotonic conditions, suggesting that dephosphorylation increases KCC3's intrinsic transport activity. Reduction of WNK1 expression via RNA interference reduces phosphorylation at these sites. Homologous sites are phosphorylated in all human KCCs. KCC2 is partially phosphorylated in neonatal mouse brain and dephosphorylated in parallel with KCC2 activation. These findings provide insight into regulation of [Cl(-)](i) and have implications for control of cell volume and neuronal function.
Project description:NKCC1 and KCC2, related cation-chloride cotransporters (CCC), regulate cell volume and ?-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic neurotranmission by modulating the intracellular concentration of chloride [Cl(-)]. These CCCs are oppositely regulated by serine-threonine phosphorylation, which activates NKCC1 but inhibits KCC2. The kinase(s) that performs this function in the nervous system are not known with certainty. WNK1 and WNK4, members of the WNK (with no lysine [K]) kinase family, either directly or via the downstream SPAK/OSR1 Ste20-type kinases, regulate the furosemide-sensitive NKCC2 and the thiazide-sensitive NCC, kidney-specific CCCs. What role the novel WNK2 kinase plays in this regulatory cascade, if any, is unknown. Here, we show that WNK2, unlike other WNKs, is not expressed in kidney; rather, it is a neuron-enriched kinase primarily expressed in neocortical pyramidal cells, thalamic relay cells, and cerebellar granule and Purkinje cells in both the developing and adult brain. Bumetanide-sensitive and Cl(-)-dependent (86)Rb(+) uptake assays in Xenopus laevis oocytes revealed that WNK2 promotes Cl(-) accumulation by reciprocally activating NKCC1 and inhibiting KCC2 in a kinase-dependent manner, effectively bypassing normal tonicity requirements for cotransporter regulation. TiO(2) enrichment and tandem mass spectrometry studies demonstrate WNK2 forms a protein complex in the mammalian brain with SPAK, a known phosphoregulator of NKCC1. In this complex, SPAK is phosphorylated at Ser-383, a consensus WNK recognition site. These findings suggest a role for WNK2 in the regulation of CCCs in the mammalian brain, with implications for both cell volume regulation and/or GABAergic signaling.
Project description:The defense of cell volume against excessive shrinkage or swelling is a requirement for cell function and organismal survival. Cell swelling triggers a coordinated homeostatic response termed regulatory volume decrease (RVD), resulting in K(+) and Cl(-) efflux via activation of K(+) channels, volume-regulated anion channels (VRACs), and the K(+)-Cl(-) cotransporters, including KCC3. Here, we show genetic alanine (Ala) substitution at threonines (Thr) 991 and 1048 in the KCC3a isoform carboxyl-terminus, preventing inhibitory phosphorylation at these sites, not only significantly up-regulates KCC3a activity up to 25-fold in normally inhibitory isotonic conditions, but is also accompanied by reversal of activity of the related bumetanide-sensitive Na(+)-K(+)-2Cl(-) cotransporter isoform 1 (NKCC1). This results in a rapid (<10 min) and significant (>90%) reduction in intracellular K(+) content (Ki) via both Cl-dependent (KCC3a + NKCC1) and Cl-independent [DCPIB (VRAC inhibitor)-sensitive] pathways, which collectively renders cells less prone to acute swelling in hypotonic osmotic stress. Together, these data demonstrate the phosphorylation state of Thr991/Thr1048 in KCC3a encodes a potent switch of transporter activity, Ki homeostasis, and cell volume regulation, and reveal novel observations into the functional interaction among ion transport molecules involved in RVD.
Project description:The thalamus is important for sensory integration with the ventrobasal thalamus (VB) as relay controlled by GABAergic projections from the nucleus reticularis thalami (NRT). Depending on the [Cl-]i primarily set by cation-chloride-cotransporters, GABA is inhibitory or excitatory. There is evidence that VB and NRT differ in terms of GABA action, with classical hyperpolarization in VB due to the expression of the Cl- extruder KCC2 and depolarizing/excitatory GABA action in the NRT, where KCC2 expression is low and Cl- accumulation by the Cl- inward transporter NKCC1 has been postulated. However, data on NKCC1 expression and functional analysis of both transporters are missing. We show that KCC2-mediated Cl- extrusion set the [Cl-]i in VB, while NKCC1 did not contribute substantially to Cl- accumulation and depolarizing GABA action in the NRT. The finding that NKCC1 did not play a major role in NRT neurons is of high relevance for ongoing studies on the therapeutic use of NKCC1 inhibitors trying to compensate for a disease-induced up-regulation of NKCC1 that has been described for various brain regions and disease states like epilepsy and chronic pain. These data suggest that NKCC1 inhibitors might have no major effect on healthy NRT neurons due to limited NKCC1 function.
Project description:gamma -aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in adult mammalian central nervous system (CNS). During CNS development, the role of GABA is switched from an excitatory transmitter to an inhibitory transmitter, which is caused by an inhibition of calcium influx into postsynaptic neuron derived from release of GABA. The switch is influenced by the neuronal chloride concentration. When the neuronal chloride concentration is at a high level, GABA acts as an excitatory neurotransmitter. When neuronal chloride concentration decreases to some degree, GABA acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter. The neuronal chloride concentration is increased by Na+-K+-Cl(-)-Cl(-) cotransporters 1 (NKCC1), and decreased by K+-Cl(-) cotransporter 2 (KCC2).
Project description:Huntington's disease (HD) is classically characterized as a movement disorder, however cognitive impairments precede the motor symptoms by ?15 y. Based on proteomic and bioinformatic data linking the Huntingtin protein (Htt) and KCC2, which is required for hyperpolarizing GABAergic inhibition, and the important role of inhibition in learning and memory, we hypothesized that aberrant KCC2 function contributes to the hippocampal-associated learning and memory deficits in HD. We discovered that Htt and KCC2 interact in the hippocampi of wild-type and R6/2-HD mice, with a decrease in KCC2 expression in the hippocampus of R6/2 and YAC128 mice. The reduced expression of the Cl--extruding cotransporter KCC2 is accompanied by an increase in the Cl--importing cotransporter NKCC1, which together result in excitatory GABA in the hippocampi of HD mice. NKCC1 inhibition by the FDA-approved NKCC1 inhibitor bumetanide abolished the excitatory action of GABA and rescued the performance of R6/2 mice on hippocampal-associated behavioral tests.