WNK3 kinase is a positive regulator of NKCC2 and NCC, renal cation-Cl - cotransporters required for normal blood pressure homeostasis

Department of Genetics, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.67). 12/2005; 102(46):16777-82. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0508303102
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WNK1 and WNK4 [WNK, with no lysine (K)] are serine-threonine kinases that function as molecular switches, eliciting coordinated effects on diverse ion transport pathways to maintain homeostasis during physiological perturbation. Gain-of-function mutations in either of these genes cause an inherited syndrome featuring hypertension and hyperkalemia due to increased renal NaCl reabsorption and decreased K(+) secretion. Here, we reveal unique biochemical and functional properties of WNK3, a related member of the WNK kinase family. Unlike WNK1 and WNK4, WNK3 is expressed throughout the nephron, predominantly at intercellular junctions. Because WNK4 is a potent inhibitor of members of the cation-cotransporter SLC12A family, we used coexpression studies in Xenopus oocytes to investigate the effect of WNK3 on NCC and NKCC2, related kidney-specific transporters that mediate apical NaCl reabsorption in the thick ascending limb and distal convoluted tubule, respectively. In contrast to WNK4's inhibitory activity, kinase-active WNK3 is a potent activator of both NKCC2 and NCC-mediated transport. Conversely, in its kinase-inactive state, WNK3 is a potent inhibitor of NKCC2 and NCC activity. WNK3 regulates the activity of these transporters by altering their expression at the plasma membrane. Wild-type WNK3 increases and kinase-inactive WNK3 decreases NKCC2 phosphorylation at Thr-184 and Thr-189, sites required for the vasopressin-mediated plasmalemmal translocation and activation of NKCC2 in vivo. The effects of WNK3 on these transporters and their coexpression in renal epithelia implicate WNK3 in NaCl, water, and blood pressure homeostasis, perhaps via signaling downstream of vasopressin.

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Available from: Jesse Rinehart, Oct 06, 2015
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    • "First, we aimed to determine where WNK3 is expressed along the mouse nephron, as we had to identify the transporters present in the segment where WNK3 is expressed. It was previously reported that, on immunofluorescence, WNK3 is present in all nephron segments (Rinehart et al., 2005). However, because the same antibody did not work both in immunofluorescence and immunoblotting in our hand, we performed laser capture microdissection (LCM) and RT-PCR in order to confirm segmental expression of WNK3 along nephron. "
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    ABSTRACT: 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.
    Biology Open 02/2012; 1(2):120-7. DOI:10.1242/bio.2011048 · 2.42 Impact Factor
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    • "Although the role of WNK3 remains to be fully clarified, it is known that this kinase markedly stimulates the activity of NCC in the X. laevis expression system [38]. This stimulatory effect occurs by phosphorylating and consequently inhibiting WNK4, a mechanism that likely prevents shuttling of the cotransporter to the lysosomes [55]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The thiazide-sensitive NaCl cotransporter (NCC) plays key roles in renal electrolyte transport and blood pressure maintenance. Regulation of this cotransporter has received increased attention recently, prompted by the discovery that mutations in the with-no-lysine (WNK) kinases are the molecular explanation for pseudohypoaldosteronism type II (PHAII). Studies suggest that WNK4 regulates NCC via two distinct pathways, depending on its state of activation. Furthermore, an intact STE20-related proline-alanine-rich kinase (SPAK)/oxidative stress response 1 kinase (OSR1) pathway was found to be necessary for a WNK4 PHAII mutation to increase NCC phosphorylation and blood pressure in mice. The mouse protein 25α is a novel regulator of the SPAK/OSR1 kinase family, which greatly increases their activity. The phosphorylation status of NCC and the WNK is regulated by the serum- and glucocorticoid-inducible kinase 1, suggesting novel mechanisms whereby aldosterone modulates NCC activity. Dephosphorylation of NCC by protein phosphatase 4 strongly influences the activity of the cotransporter, confirming an important role for NCC phosphorylation. Finally, γ-adducin increases NCC activity. This stimulatory effect is dependent on the phosphorylation status of the cotransporter. γ-Adducin only binds the dephosphorylated cotransporter, suggesting that phosphorylation of NCC causes the dissociation of γ-adducin. Since γ-adducin is not a kinase, it is tempting to speculate that the protein exerts its function by acting as a scaffold between the dephosphorylated cotransporter and the regulatory kinase. As more molecular regulators of NCC are identified, the system-controlling NCC activity is becoming increasingly complex. This intricacy confers an ability to integrate a variety of stimuli, thereby regulating NCC transport activity and ultimately blood pressure.
    Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology 09/2011; 462(6):767-77. DOI:10.1007/s00424-011-1027-1 · 4.10 Impact Factor
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    • "KS-WNK1, which does not have kinase domain of WNK1, inhibits the WNK1 action on WNK4 [82] [83]. WNK3 stimulates NCC activity in its active form, but exerts a negative effect in its inactive form [84] [85]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Sodium transport through various nephron segments is quite important in regulating sodium reabsorption and blood pressure. Among several regulators of this process, insulin acts on almost all the nephron segments and is a strong enhancer of sodium reabsorption. Sodium-proton exchanger type 3 (NHE3) is a main regulator of sodium reabsorption in the luminal side of proximal tubule. In the basolateral side of the proximal tubule, sodium-bicarbonate cotransporter (NBCe1) mediates sodium and bicarbonate exit from tubular cells. In the distal nephron and the connecting tubule, epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) is of great importance to sodium reabsorption. NHE3, NBCe1, and ENaC are all regulated by insulin. Recently with-no-lysine (WNK) kinases, responsible for familial hypertension, stimulating sodium reabsorption in the distal nephron, have been found to be also regulated by insulin. We will discuss the regulation of renal sodium transport by insulin and its roles in the pathogenesis of hypertension in insulin resistance.
    04/2011; 2011:391762. DOI:10.4061/2011/391762
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