Functional kinomics establishes a critical node of volume-sensitive cation-Cl- cotransporter regulation in the mammalian brain.
ABSTRACT: Cell volume homeostasis requires the dynamically regulated transport of ions across the plasmalemma. While the ensemble of ion transport proteins involved in cell volume regulation is well established, the molecular coordinators of their activities remain poorly characterized. We utilized a functional kinomics approach including a kinome-wide siRNA-phosphoproteomic screen, a high-content kinase inhibitor screen, and a kinase trapping-Orbitrap mass spectroscopy screen to systematically identify essential kinase regulators of KCC3 Thr991/Thr1048 phosphorylation - a key signaling event in cell swelling-induced regulatory volume decrease (RVD). In the mammalian brain, we found the Cl--sensitive WNK3-SPAK kinase complex, required for cell shrinkage-induced regulatory volume decrease (RVI) via the stimulatory phosphorylation of NKCC1 (Thr203/Thr207/Thr212), is also essential for the inhibitory phosphorylation of KCC3 (Thr991/Thr1048). This is mediated in vivo by an interaction between the CCT domain in SPAK and RFXV/I domains in WNK3 and NKCC1/KCC3. Accordingly, genetic or pharmacologic WNK3-SPAK inhibition prevents cell swelling in response to osmotic stress and ameliorates post-ischemic brain swelling through a simultaneous inhibition of NKCC1-mediated Cl- uptake and stimulation of KCC3-mediated Cl- extrusion. We conclude that WNK3-SPAK is an integral component of the long-sought "Cl-/volume-sensitive kinase" of the cation-Cl- cotransporters, and functions as a molecular rheostat of cell volume in the mammalian brain.
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: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:The K(+):Cl(-) cotransporter (KCC) activity is modulated by phosphorylation/dephosphorylation processes. In isotonic conditions, KCCs are inactive and phosphorylated, whereas hypotonicity promotes their dephosphorylation and activation. Two phosphorylation sites (Thr-991 and Thr-1048) in KCC3 have been found to be critical for its regulation. However, here we show that the double mutant KCC3-T991A/T1048A could be further activated by hypotonicity, suggesting that additional phosphorylation site(s) are involved. We observed that in vitro activated STE20/SPS1-related proline/alanine-rich kinase (SPAK) complexed to its regulatory MO25 subunit phosphorylated KCC3 at Ser-96 and that in Xenopus laevis oocytes Ser-96 of human KCC3 is phosphorylated in isotonic conditions and becomes dephosphorylated during incubation in hypotonicity, leading to a dramatic increase in KCC3 function. Additionally, WNK3, which inhibits the activity of KCC3, promoted phosphorylation of Ser-96 as well as Thr-991 and Thr-1048. These observations were corroborated in HEK293 cells stably transfected with WNK3. Mutation of Ser-96 alone (KCC3-S96A) had no effect on the activity of the cotransporter when compared with wild type KCC3. However, when compared with the double mutant KCC3-T991A/T1048A, the triple mutant KCC3-S96A/T991A/T1048A activity in isotonic conditions was significantly higher, and it was not further increased by hypotonicity or inhibited by WNK3. We conclude that serine residue 96 of human KCC3 is a third site that has to be dephosphorylated for full activation of the cotransporter during hypotonicity.
Project description:K(+)-Cl(-) cotransporters (KCCs) were originally characterized as regulators of red blood cell (RBC) volume. Since then, four distinct KCCs have been cloned, and their importance for volume regulation has been demonstrated in other cell types. Genetic models of certain KCCs, such as KCC3, and their inhibitory WNK-STE20/SPS1-related proline/alanine-rich kinase (SPAK) serine-threonine kinases, have demonstrated the evolutionary necessity of these molecules for nervous system cell volume regulation, structure, and function, and their involvement in neurological disease. The recent characterization of a swelling-activated dephosphorylation mechanism that potently stimulates the KCCs has pinpointed a potentially druggable switch of KCC activity. An improved understanding of WNK/SPAK-mediated KCC cell volume regulation in the nervous system might reveal novel avenues for the treatment of multiple neurological diseases.
Project description:SLC12A cation/Cl- cotransporters are mutated in human disease, are targets of diuretics, and are collectively involved in the regulation of cell volume, neuronal excitability, and blood pressure. This gene family has two major branches with different physiological functions and inverse regulation: K-Cl cotransporters (KCC1-KCC4) mediate cellular Cl- efflux, are inhibited by phosphorylation, and are activated by dephosphorylation; Na-(K)-Cl cotransporters (NCC and NKCC1/2) mediate cellular Cl- influx and are activated by phosphorylation. A single kinase/phosphatase pathway is thought to coordinate the activities of these cotransporters in a given cell; however, the mechanisms involved are as yet unknown. We previously demonstrated that WNK3, a paralog of serine-threonine kinases mutated in hereditary hypertension, is coexpressed with several cation/Cl- cotransporters and regulates their activity. Here, we show that WNK3 completely prevents the cell swelling-induced activation of KCC1-KCC4 in Xenopus oocytes. In contrast, catalytically inactive WNK3 abolishes the cell shrinkage-induced inhibition of KCC1-KCC4, resulting in a >100-fold stimulation of K-Cl cotransport during conditions in which transport is normally inactive. This activation is completely abolished by calyculin A and cyclosporine A, inhibitors of protein phosphatase 1 and 2B, respectively. Wild-type WNK3 activates Na-(K)-Cl cotransporters by increasing their phosphorylation, and catalytically inactive kinase inhibits Na-(K)-Cl cotransporters by decreasing their phosphorylation, such that our data suggest that WNK3 is a crucial component of the kinase/phosphatase signaling pathway that coordinately regulates the Cl- influx and efflux branches of the SLC12A cotransporter family.
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:Using exome sequencing, we identified a de novo mutation (c.2971A>G; T991A) in SLC12A6, the gene encoding the K(+)-Cl(-) cotransporter KCC3, in a patient with an early-onset, progressive, and severe peripheral neuropathy primarily affecting motor neurons. Normally, the WNK kinase-dependent phosphorylation of T(991) tonically inhibits KCC3; however, cell swelling triggers Thr(991) dephosphorylation to activate the transporter and restore cell volume. KCC3 T991A mutation in patient cells abolished Thr(991) phosphorylation, resulted in constitutive KCC3 activity, and compromised cell volume homeostasis. KCC3(T991A/T991A) mutant mice exhibited constitutive KCC3 activity and recapitulated aspects of the clinical, electrophysiological, and histopathological findings of the patient. These results suggest that the function of the peripheral nervous system depends on finely tuned, kinase-regulated KCC3 activity and implicate abnormal cell volume homeostasis as a previously unreported mechanism of axonal degeneration.
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 WNK-SPAK kinase signaling pathway controls renal NaCl reabsorption and systemic blood pressure by regulating ion transporters and channels. A WNK3-SPAK complex is highly expressed in brain, but its function in this organ remains unclear. Here, we investigated the role of this kinase complex in brain edema and white matter injury after ischemic stroke. Wild-type, WNK3 knockout, and SPAK heterozygous or knockout mice underwent transient middle cerebral artery occlusion. One cohort of mice underwent magnetic resonance imaging. Ex-vivo brains three days post-ischemia were imaged by slice-selective spin-echo diffusion tensor imaging magnetic resonance imaging, after which the same brain tissues were subjected to immunofluorescence staining. A second cohort of mice underwent neurological deficit analysis up to 14 days post-transient middle cerebral artery occlusion. Relative to wild-type mice, WNK3 knockout, SPAK heterozygous, and SPAK knockout mice each exhibited a >50% reduction in infarct size and associated cerebral edema, significantly less demyelination, and improved neurological outcomes. We conclude that WNK3-SPAK signaling regulates brain swelling, gray matter injury, and demyelination after ischemic stroke, and that WNK3-SPAK inhibition has therapeutic potential for treating malignant cerebral edema in the setting of middle cerebral artery stroke.
Project description:The intracellular concentration of chloride ([Cl(-)]i) determines the strength and polarity of GABA neurotransmission. STE20/SPS1-related proline/alanine-rich kinase (SPAK) is known as an indirect regulator of [Cl(-)]i for its activation of Na-K-2 Cl(-)co-transporters (NKCC) and inhibition of K-Cl(-)co-transporters (KCC) in many organs. NKCC1 or KCC2 expression changes have been demonstrated previously in the hippocampal neurons of mice with pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus (PISE). However, it remains unclear whether SPAK modulates [Cl(-)]i via NKCC1 or KCC2 in the brain. Also, there are no data clearly characterizing SPAK expression in cortical or hippocampal neurons or confirming an association between SPAK and epilepsy. In the present study, we examined SPAK expression and co-expression with NKCC1 and KCC2 in the hippocampal neurons of mice with PISE, and we investigated alterations in SPAK expression in the hippocampus of such mice. Significant increases in SPAK mRNA and protein levels were detected during various stages of PISE in the PISE mice in comparison to levels in age-matched sham (control) and blank treatment (control) mice. SPAK and NKCC1 expression increased in vitro, while KCC2 was down-regulated in hippocampal neurons following hypoxic conditioning. However, SPAK overexpression did not influence the expression levels of NKCC1 or KCC2. Using co-immunoprecipitation, we determined that the intensity of interaction between SPAK and NKCC1 and between SPAK and KCC2 increased markedly after oxygen-deprivation, whereas SPAK overexpression strengthened the relationships. The [Cl(-)]i of hippocampal neurons changed in a corresponding manner under the different conditions. Our data suggests that SPAK is involved in the plasticity of GABA signaling function in acquired epilepsy via adjustment of [Cl(-)]i in hippocampal neurons.