Kinases SPAK and OSR1 are upregulated by estradiol and activate NKCC1 in the developing hypothalamus.
ABSTRACT: In immature neurons the amino acid neurotransmitter, GABA provides the dominant mode for neuronal excitation by inducing membrane depolarization due to Cl(-) efflux through GABA(A) receptors (GABA(A)Rs). The driving force for Cl(-) is outward because the Na(+)-K(+)-2Cl(-) cotransporter (NKCC1) elevates the Cl(-) concentration in these cells. GABA-induced membrane depolarization and the resulting activation of voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels is fundamental to normal brain development, yet the mechanisms that regulate depolarizing GABA are not well understood. The neurosteroid estradiol potently augments depolarizing GABA action in the immature hypothalamus by enhancing the activity of the NKCC1 cotransporter. Understanding how estradiol controls NKCC1 activity will be essential for a complete understanding of brain development. We now report that estradiol treatment of newborn rat pups significantly increases protein levels of two kinases upstream of the NKCC1 cotransporter, SPAK (STE20/SPS1-related proline alanine rich kinase) and OSR1 (oxidative stress response kinase). The estradiol-induced increase is transcription dependent, and its time course parallels that of estradiol-enhanced phosphorylation of NKCC1. Antisense oligonucleotide-mediated knockdown of SPAK, and to a lesser degree of OSR1, precludes estradiol-mediated enhancement of NKCC1 phosphorylation. Functionally, knockdown of SPAK or OSR1 in embryonic hypothalamic cultures diminishes estradiol-enhanced Ca(2+) influx induced by GABA(A)R activation. Our data suggest that SPAK and OSR1 may be critical factors in the regulation of depolarizing GABA-mediated processes in the developing brain. It will be important to examine these kinases with respect to sex differences and developmental brain anomalies in future studies.
Project description:WNK kinases, including WNK3, and the associated downstream Ste20/SPS1-related proline-alanine-rich protein kinase (SPAK) and oxidative stress responsive 1 (OSR1) kinases, comprise an important signaling cascade that regulates the cation-chloride cotransporters. Ischemia-induced stimulation of the bumetanide-sensitive Na(+)-K(+)-Cl(-) cotransporter (NKCC1) plays an important role in the pathophysiology of experimental stroke, but the mechanism of its regulation in this context is unknown. Here, we investigated the WNK3-SPAK/OSR1 pathway as a regulator of NKCC1 stimulation and their collective role in ischemic brain damage.Wild-type WNK3 and WNK3 knockout mice were subjected to ischemic stroke via transient middle cerebral artery occlusion. Infarct volume, brain edema, blood brain barrier damage, white matter demyelination, and neurological deficits were assessed. Total and phosphorylated forms of WNK3 and SPAK/OSR1 were assayed by immunoblotting and immunostaining. In vitro ischemia studies in cultured neurons and immature oligodendrocytes were conducted using the oxygen-glucose deprivation/reoxygenation method.WNK3 knockout mice exhibited significantly decreased infarct volume and axonal demyelination, less cerebral edema, and accelerated neurobehavioral recovery compared with WNK3 wild-type mice subjected to middle cerebral artery occlusion. The neuroprotective phenotypes conferred by WNK3 knockout were associated with a decrease in stimulatory hyperphosphorylations of the SPAK/OSR1 catalytic T-loop and of NKCC1 stimulatory sites Thr(203)/Thr(207)/Thr(212), as well as with decreased cell surface expression of NKCC1. Genetic inhibition of WNK3 or small interfering RNA knockdown of SPAK/OSR1 increased the tolerance of cultured primary neurons and oligodendrocytes to in vitro ischemia.These data identify a novel role for the WNK3-SPAK/OSR1-NKCC1 signaling pathway in ischemic neuroglial injury and suggest the WNK3-SPAK/OSR1 kinase pathway as a therapeutic target for neuroprotection after ischemic stroke.
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:We investigated the role of oxidative stress-responsive kinase-1 (OSR1) and STE20 (sterile 20)/SPS1-related proline/alanine-rich kinase (SPAK), upstream regulators of the Na(+)-K(+)-2Cl(-) cotransporter (NKCC1)-essential for spermatogenesis-in mouse models of male fertility. Global OSR1(+/-) gene mutations, but not global SPAK(-/-) or Sertoli cell (SC)-specific OSR1 gene knockout (SC-OSR1(-/-)), cause subfertility with impaired sperm function and are associated with reduced abundance of phosphorylated (p)-NKCC1 but increased p-SPAK expression in testicular tissue and spermatozoa. To dissect further in a SC-specific manner the compensatory effect of OSR1 and SPAK in male fertility, we generated SC-OSR1(-/-) and SPAK(-/-) double knockout (DKO) male mice. These are infertile with defective spermatogenesis, presenting a SC-only-like syndrome. Disrupted meiotic progression and increased germ cell apoptosis occurred in the first wave of spermatogenesis. The abundance of total and p-NKCC1 was significantly decreased in the testicular tissues of DKO mice. These results indicate that OSR1 and SPAK cooperatively regulate NKCC1-dependent spermatogenesis in a SC-restricted manner.
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 SPAK (STE20/SPS1-related proline/alanine-rich kinase) and OSR1 (oxidative stress-responsive kinase-1) kinases interact and phosphorylate NKCC1 (Na+-K+-2Cl- co-transporter-1), leading to its activation. Recent studies indicated that SPAK and OSR1 are phosphorylated and activated by the WNK1 [with no K (lysine) protein kinase-1] and WNK4, genes mutated in humans affected by Gordon's hypertension syndrome. In the present study, we have identified three residues in NKCC1 (Thr175/Thr179/Thr184 in shark or Thr203/Thr207/Thr212 in human) that are phosphorylated by SPAK and OSR1, and have developed a peptide substrate, CATCHtide (cation chloride co-transporter peptide substrate), to assess SPAK and OSR1 activity. Exposure of HEK-293 (human embryonic kidney) cells to osmotic stress, which leads to phosphorylation and activation of NKCC1, increased phosphorylation of NKCC1 at the sites targeted by SPAK/OSR1. The residues on NKCC1, phosphorylated by SPAK/OSR1, are conserved in other cation co-transporters, such as the Na+-Cl- co-transporter, the target of thiazide drugs that lower blood pressure in humans with Gordon's syndrome. Furthermore, we characterize the properties of a 92-residue CCT (conserved C-terminal) domain on SPAK and OSR1 that interacts with an RFXV (Arg-Phe-Xaa-Val) motif present in the substrate NKCC1 and its activators WNK1/WNK4. A peptide containing the RFXV motif interacts with nanomolar affinity with the CCT domains of SPAK/OSR1 and can be utilized to affinity-purify SPAK and OSR1 from cell extracts. Mutation of the arginine, phenylalanine or valine residue within this peptide abolishes binding to SPAK/OSR1. We have identified specific residues within the CCT domain that are required for interaction with the RFXV motif and have demonstrated that mutation of these in OSR1 inhibited phosphorylation of NKCC1, but not of CATCHtide which does not possess an RFXV motif. We establish that an intact CCT domain is required for WNK1 to efficiently phosphorylate and activate OSR1. These data establish that the CCT domain functions as a multipurpose docking site, enabling SPAK/OSR1 to interact with substrates (NKCC1) and activators (WNK1/WNK4).
Project description:Wnk kinase maintains cell volume, regulating various transporters such as sodium-chloride cotransporter, potassium-chloride cotransporter, and sodium-potassium-chloride cotransporter 1 (NKCC1) through the phosphorylation of oxidative stress responsive kinase 1 (OSR1) and STE20/SPS1-related proline/alanine-rich kinase (SPAK). However, the activating mechanism of Wnk kinase in specific tissues and specific conditions is broadly unclear. In the present study, we used a human salivary gland (HSG) cell line as a model and showed that Ca(2+) may have a role in regulating Wnk kinase in the HSG cell line. Through this study, we found that the HSG cell line expressed molecules participating in the WNK-OSR1-NKCC pathway, such as Wnk1, Wnk4, OSR1, SPAK, and NKCC1. The HSG cell line showed an intracellular Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)]i) increase in response to hypotonic stimulation, and the response was synchronized with the phosphorylation of OSR1. Interestingly, when we inhibited the hypotonically induced [Ca(2+)]i increase with nonspecific Ca(2+) channel blockers such as 2-aminoethoxydiphenyl borate, gadolinium, and lanthanum, the phosphorylated OSR1 level was also diminished. Moreover, a cyclopiazonic acid-induced passive [Ca(2+)]i elevation was evoked by the phosphorylation of OSR1, and the amount of phosphorylated OSR1 decreased when the cells were treated with BAPTA, a Ca(2+) chelator. Finally, through that process, NKCC1 activity also decreased to maintain the cell volume in the HSG cell line. These results indicate that Ca(2+) may regulate the WNK-OSR1 pathway and NKCC1 activity in the HSG cell line. This is the first demonstration that indicates upstream Ca(2+) regulation of the WNK-OSR1 pathway in intact cells.
Project description:A shift of GABA(A)-mediated responses from hyperpolarizing to depolarizing after neuronal injury leads to GABA(A)-mediated increase in [Ca2+](i). In addition, central neurons become dependent on BDNF for survival. Whether these two mechanisms are causally interrelated is an open question. Here, we show in lesioned CA3 hippocampal neurons in vitro and in axotomized corticospinal neurons in vivo that posttraumatic downregulation of the neuron-specific K-Cl cotransporter KCC2 leads to intracellular chloride accumulation by the Na-K-2Cl cotransporter NKCC1, resulting in GABA-induced [Ca2+](i) transients. This mechanism is required by a population of neurons to survive in a BDNF-dependent manner after injury, because blocking GABA(A)-depolarization with the NKCC1 inhibitor bumetanide prevents the loss of neurons on BDNF withdrawal. The resurgence of KCC2 expression during recovery coincides with loss of BDNF dependency for survival. This is likely mediated through BDNF itself, because injured neurons reverse their response to this neurotrophin by switching the BDNF-induced downregulation of KCC2 to upregulation.
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:Prenatal exposure to ethanol induces aberrant tangential migration of corticopetal GABAergic interneurons, and long-term alterations in the form and function of the prefrontal cortex. We have hypothesized that interneuronopathy contributes significantly to the pathoetiology of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). Activity-dependent tangential migration of GABAergic cortical neurons is driven by depolarizing responses to ambient GABA present in the cortical enclave. We found that ethanol exposure potentiates the depolarizing action of GABA in GABAergic cortical interneurons of the embryonic mouse brain. Pharmacological antagonism of the cotransporter NKCC1 mitigated ethanol-induced potentiation of GABA depolarization and prevented aberrant patterns of tangential migration induced by ethanol in vitro. In a model of FASD, maternal bumetanide treatment prevented interneuronopathy in the prefrontal cortex of ethanol exposed offspring, including deficits in behavioral flexibility. These findings position interneuronopathy as a mechanism of FASD symptomatology, and posit NKCC1 as a pharmacological target for the management of FASD.