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.
SourceAvailable from: Hashem A Dbouk[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The with no lysine (K) (WNK) family of enzymes is best known for control of blood pressure through regulation of the function and membrane localization of ion cotransporters. In mice, global as well as endothelial-specific WNK1 gene disruption results in embryonic lethality due to angiogenic and cardiovascular defects. WNK1(-/-) embryos can be rescued by endothelial-specific expression of a constitutively active form of the WNK1 substrate protein kinase OSR1 (oxidative stress responsive 1). Using human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), we explored mechanisms underlying the requirement of WNK1-OSR1 signaling for vascular development. WNK1 is required for cord formation in HUVECs, but the actions of the two major WNK1 effectors, OSR1 and its close relative SPAK (STE20/SPS1-related proline-, alanine-rich kinase), are distinct. SPAK is important for endothelial cell proliferation, whereas OSR1 is required for HUVEC chemotaxis and invasion. We also identified the zinc-finger transcription factor Slug in WNK1-mediated control of endothelial functions. Our study identifies a separation of functions for the WNK1-activated protein kinases OSR1 and SPAK in mediating proliferation, invasion, and gene expression in endothelial cells and an unanticipated link between WNK1 and Slug that is important for angiogenesis.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2014; 111(45). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1419057111 · 9.81 Impact Factor
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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 · 3.53 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.