Identification of WNK1 as a Substrate of Akt/Protein Kinase B and a Negative Regulator of Insulin-stimulated Mitogenesis in 3T3-L1 Cells
ABSTRACT Insulin signaling through protein kinase Akt/protein kinase B (PKB), a downstream element of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway, regulates diverse cellular functions including metabolic pathways, apoptosis, mitogenesis, and membrane trafficking. To identify Akt/PKB substrates that mediate these effects, we used antibodies that recognize phosphopeptide sites containing the Akt/PKB substrate motif (RXRXX(p)S/T) to immunoprecipitate proteins from insulin-stimulated adipocytes. Tryptic peptides from a 250-kDa immunoprecipitated protein were identified as the protein kinase WNK1 (with no lysine) by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry, consistent with a recent report that WNK1 is phosphorylated on Thr60 in response to insulin-like growth factor I. Insulin treatment of 3T3-L1 adipocytes stimulated WNK1 phosphorylation, as detected by immunoprecipitation with antibody against WNK1 followed by immunoblotting with the anti-phosphoAkt substrate antibody. WNK1 phosphorylation induced by insulin was unaffected by rapamycin, an inhibitor of p70 S6 kinase pathway but abolished by the PI3K inhibitor wortmannin. RNA interference-directed depletion of Akt1/PKB alpha and Akt2/PKB beta attenuated insulin-stimulated WNK1 phosphorylation, but depletion of protein kinase C lambda did not. Whereas small interfering RNA-induced loss of WNK1 protein did not significantly affect insulin-stimulated glucose transport in 3T3-L1 adipocytes, it significantly enhanced insulin-stimulated thymidine incorporation by about 2-fold. Furthermore, depletion of WNK1 promoted serum-stimulated cell proliferation of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes, as evidenced by a 36% increase in cell number after 48 h in culture. These data suggest that WNK1 is a physiologically relevant target of insulin signaling through PI3K and Akt/PKB and functions as a negative regulator of insulin-stimulated mitogenesis.
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ABSTRACT: WNKs (with-no-lysine [K]) are a family of serine-threonine protein kinases with an atypical placement of the catalytic lysine relative to all other protein kinases. The roles of WNK kinases in regulating ion transport were first revealed by the findings that mutations of two members cause a genetic hypertension and hyperkalemia syndrome. More recent studies suggest that WNKs are pleiotropic protein kinases with important roles in many cell processes in addition to ion transport. Here, we review roles of WNK kinases in the regulation of ion balance, cell signaling, survival, and proliferation, and embryonic organ development.Experimental and Molecular Medicine 11/2007; 39(5):565-73. DOI:10.1038/emm.2007.62 · 2.46 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: WNK1, a Ser/Thr protein kinase, is widely expressed in many tissues. Its biological functions are largely unknown. Disruption of the WNK1 gene in mice leads to embryonic lethality at day 13, implicating a critical role of WNK1 in embryonic development. To investigate this potential function, we used antisense strategy to knock down the expression of WNK1 in a mouse neural progenitor cell line, C17.2. Down-regulation of WNK1 in C17.2 cells greatly reduced cell growth. Addition of epidermal growth factor (EGF), a mitogen for C17.2 cells, had no effect on growth. The WNK1-knockdown cells showed a flat and rounded morphology, characteristic of the immature and non-differentiated phenotype of the progenitor cells; this was further demonstrated by immunostaining for the progenitor and neuronal markers. Migration of the WNK1-knockdown C17.2 cells was reduced as tested in culture dishes or Matrigel-covered chambers. Moreover, activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1)/2 and ERK5 by EGF in the WNK1-knockdown cells was suppressed. These results demonstrate a novel function of WNK1 in proliferation, migration, and differentiation of neural progenitor cells, likely by mechanisms involving activation of the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase ERK1/2 and/or ERK5 pathways.Journal of Neurochemistry 12/2006; 99(4):1114-21. DOI:10.1111/j.1471-4159.2006.04159.x · 4.24 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The subfamily of WNK (With No K [lysine]) protein kinases is characterised by a unique sequence variation in the catalytic domain: a conserved lysine residue that is essential for catalytic activity in most eucaryotic protein kinases is located in an alternative position within the catalytic domain and this variation may result in unique substrate binding properties. The human genome contains four WNK genes, with different tissue-specific expression patterns. Mutations in WNK1 or WNK4 cause a hereditary hypertension syndrome due to increased renal salt retention. At the molecular level, WNK1, WNK3 or WNK4 have been shown to regulate different ion transporters in both the kidney and extrarenal tissues. Growing evidence has also revealed additional roles for WNK kinases in multiple signalling cascades related to tumour biology. There is strong evidence for a role as upstream regulators of MAPK cascades involved in cell proliferation control. In addition, a requirement of some WNK members for cell survival has been demonstrated. Here, we review the experimental evidence linking WNK kinases to tumorigenesis and discuss their role in major aspects of tumour biology: G1/S cell cycle progression, metabolic tumour cell adaptation, evasion of apoptosis, and metastasis.