Disease-causing mutations in the acidic motif of WNK4 impair the sensitivity of WNK4 kinase to calcium ions

Academic Article


  • WNK4 is a serine/threonine protein kinase that is involved in pseudohypoaldosteronism type II (PHAII), a Mendelian form disorder featuring hypertension and hyperkalemia. Most of the PHAII-causing mutations are clustered in an acidic motif rich in negatively charged residues. It is unclear, however, whether these mutations affect the kinase activity in any way. In this study, we isolated kinase domain of WNK4 produced by Escherichia coli, and demonstrated its ability to phosphorylate the oxidative stress-responsive kinase-1 (OSR1) and the thiazide-sensitive Na+-Cl- cotransporter (NCC) in vitro. Threonine 48 was identified as the WNK4 phosphorylation site at mouse NCC. The phospho-mimicking T48D mutant of mouse NCC increased its protein abundance and Na+ uptake, and also enhanced the phosphorylation at the N-terminal region of NCC by OSR1. When the acidic motif was included in the WNK4 kinase construct, the kinase activity of WNK4 exhibited sensitivity to Ca2+ ions with the highest activity at Ca2+ concentration around 1μM using kinase-inactive OSR1 as a substrate. All tested PHAII-causing mutations at the acidic motif exhibited impaired Ca2+ sensitivity. Our results suggest that these PHAII-causing mutations disrupt a Ca2+-sensing mechanism around the acidic motif necessary for the regulation of WNK4 kinase activity by Ca2+ ions. © 2012 Elsevier Inc..
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Na T; Wu G; Peng JB
  • Start Page

  • 293
  • End Page

  • 298
  • Volume

  • 419
  • Issue

  • 2