The WNK1 and WNK4 protein kinases that are mutated in Gordon's hypertension syndrome, phosphorylate and active SPAK and OSR1 protein kinases

MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit, School of Life Sciences, MSI/WTB Complex, University of Dundee, Dow Street, Dundee DD1 5EH, Scotland, UK.
Biochemical Journal (Impact Factor: 4.4). 11/2005; 391(Pt 1):17-24. DOI: 10.1042/BJ20051180
Source: PubMed


Mutations in the human genes encoding WNK1 [with no K (lysine) protein kinase-1] and the related protein kinase WNK4 are the cause of Gordon's hypertension syndrome. Little is known about the molecular mechanism by which WNK isoforms regulate cellular processes. We immunoprecipitated WNK1 from extracts of rat testis and found that it was specifically associated with a protein kinase of the STE20 family termed 'STE20/SPS1-related proline/alanine-rich kinase' (SPAK). We demonstrated that WNK1 and WNK4 both interacted with SPAK as well as a closely related kinase, termed 'oxidative stress response kinase-1' (OSR1). Wildtype (wt) but not catalytically inactive WNK1 and WNK4 phosphorylated SPAK and OSR1 to a much greater extent than with other substrates utilized previously, such as myelin basic protein and claudin-4. Phosphorylation by WNK1 or WNK4 markedly increased SPAK and OSR1 activity. Phosphopeptide mapping studies demonstrated that WNK1 phosphorylated kinase-inactive SPAK and OSR1 at an equivalent residue located within the T-loop of the catalytic domain (Thr233 in SPAK, Thr185 in OSR1) and a serine residue located within a C-terminal non-catalytic region (Ser373 in SPAK, Ser325 in OSR1). Mutation of Thr185 to alanine prevented the activation of OSR1 by WNK1, whereas mutation of Thr185 to glutamic acid (to mimic phosphorylation) increased the basal activity of OSR1 over 20-fold and prevented further activation by WNK1. Mutation of Ser325 in OSR1 to alanine or glutamic acid did not affect the basal activity of OSR1 or its ability to be activated by WNK1. These findings suggest that WNK isoforms operate as protein kinases that activate SPAK and OSR1 by phosphorylating the T-loops of these enzymes, resulting in their activation. Our analysis also describes the first facile assay that can be employed to quantitatively assess WNK1 and WNK4 activity.

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Available from: Nick Morrice, Jan 24, 2014
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    • "Activated SPAK and OSR1 associate and then phosphorylate and activate other ion co-transporters, including Na+/K+/2Cl− co-transporter 1 (NKCC1) [16], [17]. NKCC1 is a ubiquitous ion transporter [18] that controls cell volume and maintains osmostasis through absorption of Na+, K+ and Cl− ions [19], [20], suggesting that under hyperosmotic conditions, WNK1 can regulate the activity of NKCC1 through SPAK and OSR1 [21]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The WNK1 (WNK lysine deficient protein kinase 1) protein is a serine/threonine protein kinase with emerging roles in cancer. WNK1 causes hypertension and hyperkalemia when overexpressed and cardiovascular defects when ablated in mice. In this study, the role of Wnk1 in angiogenesis was explored using the zebrafish model. There are two zebrafish wnk1 isoforms, wnk1a and wnk1b, and both contain all the functional domains found in the human WNK1 protein. Both isoforms are expressed in the embryo at the initiation of angiogenesis and in the posterior cardinal vein (PCV), similar to fms-related tyrosine kinase 4 (flt4). Using morpholino antisense oligonucleotides against wnk1a and wnk1b, we observed that wnk1 morphants have defects in angiogenesis in the head and trunk, similar to flk1/vegfr2 morphants. Furthermore, both wnk1a and wnk1b mRNA can partially rescue the defects in vascular formation caused by flk1/vegfr2 knockdown. Mutation of the kinase domain or the Akt/PI3K phosphorylation site within wnk1 destroys this rescue capability. The rescue experiments provide evidence that wnk1 is a downstream target for Vegfr2 (vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2) and Akt/PI3K signaling and thereby affects angiogenesis in zebrafish embryos. Furthermore, we found that knockdown of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (flk1/vegfr2) or vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-3 (flt4/vegfr3) results in a decrease in wnk1a expression, as assessed by in situ hybridization and q-RT-PCR analysis. Thus, the Vegf/Vegfr signaling pathway controls angiogenesis in zebrafish via Akt kinase-mediated phosphorylation and activation of Wnk1 as well as transcriptional regulation of wnk1 expression.
    PLoS ONE 08/2014; 9(8):e106129. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0106129 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "Review identified that oxidative stress-responsive gene 1 (OSR1) and Ste20-related proline-alanine-rich kinase (SPAK) were substrates of WNK1 and WNK4 (Moriguchi et al., 2005; Vitari et al., 2005). OSR1 and SPAK are related serine–threonine kinases that possess an N-terminal catalytic domain similar to those of other members of the Ste20 kinase subfamily , and two conserved regions known as the serine motif (S motif) and conserved C-terminal (CCT) domain . "
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    ABSTRACT: In 2001, with-no-lysine (WNK) kinases were identified as the genes responsible for the human hereditary hypertensive disease pseudohypoaldosteronism type II (PHAII). It took a further 6 years to clarify that WNK kinases participate in a signaling cascade with oxidative stress-responsive gene 1 (OSR1), Ste20-related proline-alanine-rich kinase (SPAK), and Thiazide-sensitive NaCl cotransporter (NCC) in the kidney and the constitutive activation of this signaling cascade is the molecular basis of PHAII. Since this discovery, the WNK-OSR1/SPAK-NCC signaling cascade has been shown to be involved not only in PHAII but also in the regulation of blood pressure under normal and pathogenic conditions, such as hyperinsulinemia. However, the molecular mechanisms of WNK kinase regulation by dietary and hormonal factors and by PHAII-causing mutations remain poorly understood. In 2012, two additional genes responsible for PHAII, Kelch-like 3 (KLHL3) and Cullin3, were identified. At the time of their discovery, the molecular mechanisms underlying the interaction between these genes and their involvement in PHAII were unknown. Here we review the pathophysiological roles of the WNK signaling cascade clarified to date and introduce a new mechanism of WNK kinase regulation by KLHL3 and Cullin3, which provides insight on previously unknown mechanisms of WNK kinase regulation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Biology of the Cell 12/2013; 106(2). DOI:10.1111/boc.201300069 · 3.51 Impact Factor
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    • "Since human PHA II is also linked to the mutations in WNK1, Kelch-like 3 or cullin 3 genes, the SPAK in those gene mutations will need to be clarified first.[16], [17], [20], [58]–[60]. "
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    ABSTRACT: 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.
    PLoS ONE 09/2013; 8(9):e72969. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0072969 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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