• Roles of WNK4 and SPAK in K+-mediated dephosphorylation of the NaCl cotransporter.

Roles of WNK4 and SPAK in K+-mediated dephosphorylation of the NaCl cotransporter.

American journal of physiology. Renal physiology (2021-03-16)
Anindit Mukherjee, Chao-Ling Yang, James A McCormick, Kevin Martz, Avika Sharma, David H Ellison

Phosphorylation of the thiazide-sensitive NaCl cotransporter (NCC) in the distal convoluted tubule (DCT) is altered rapidly in response to changes in extracellular K+ concentration ([K+]). High extracellular [K+] is believed to activate specific phosphatases to dephosphorylate NCC, thereby reducing its activity. This process is defective in the human disease familial hyperkalemic hypertension, in which extracellular [K+] fails to dephosphorylate NCC, suggesting an interplay between NCC-activating and NCC-inactivating switches. Here, we explored the role of STE20/SPS1-related proline-alanine-rich protein kinase (SPAK) and intracellular Cl- concentration in the rapid effects of extracellular K+ on NCC phosphorylation. SPAK was found to be rapidly dephosphorylated in vitro in human embryonic kidney cells and ex vivo in kidney slices by high [K+]. Acute high-K+ challenge resulted in DCT1-specific SPAK dephosphorylation in vivo and dissolution of SPAK puncta. In line with the postulate of interplay between activating and inactivating switches, we found that the "on" switch, represented by with no lysine kinase 4 (WNK4)-SPAK, must be turned off for rapid NCC dephosphorylation by high [K+]. Longer-term WNK-SPAK-mediated stimulation, however, altered the sensitivity of the system, as it attenuated rapid NCC dephosphorylation due to acute K+ loading. Although blockade of protein phosphatase (PP)1 increased NCC phosphorylation at baseline, neither PP1 nor PP3, singly or in combination, was essential for NCC dephosphorylation. Overall, our data suggest that NCC phosphorylation is regulated by a dynamic equilibrium between activating kinases and inactivating phosphatases, with kinase inactivation playing a key role in the rapid NCC dephosphorylation by high extracellular K+.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Although a great deal is known about mechanisms by which thiazide-sensitive NaCl cotransporter is phosphorylated and activated, much less is known about dephosphorylation. Here, we show that rapid dephosphorylation by high K+ depends on the Cl- sensitivity of with no lysine kinase 4 and the rapid dephosphorylation of STE20/SPS1-related proline-alanine-rich protein kinase, primarily along the early distal convoluted tubule.

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