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Pflugers Arch. 2009 Apr;457(6):1287-301. doi: 10.1007/s00424-008-0587-1. Epub 2008 Sep 12.

SGK1 activity in Na+ absorbing airway epithelial cells monitored by assaying NDRG1-Thr346/356/366 phosphorylation.

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  • 1Lung Membrane Transport Group, Division of Maternal and Child Health Sciences, College of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 9SY, Scotland.

Abstract

Studies of HeLa cells and serum- and glucocorticoid-regulated kinase 1 (SGK1) knockout mice identified threonine residues in the n-myc downstream-regulated gene 1 protein (NDRG1-Thr(346/356/366)) that are phosphorylated by SGK1 but not by related kinases (Murray et al., Biochem J 385:1-12, 2005). We have, therefore, monitored the phosphorylation of NDRG1-Thr(346/356/366) in order to explore the changes in SGK1 activity associated with the induction and regulation of the glucocorticoid-dependent Na(+) conductance (G (Na)) in human airway epithelial cells. Transient expression of active (SGK1-S422D) and inactive (SGK1-K127A) SGK1 mutants confirmed that activating SGK1 stimulates NDRG1-Thr(346/356/366) phosphorylation. Although G (Na) is negligible in hormone-deprived cells, these cells displayed basal SGK1 activity that was sensitive to LY294002, an inhibitor of 3-phosphatidylinositol phosphate kinase (PI3K). Dexamethasone (0.2 muM) acutely activated SGK1 and the peak of this response (2-3 h) coincided with the induction of G (Na), and both responses were PI3K-dependent. While these data suggest that SGK1 might mediate the rise in G (Na), transient expression of the inactive SGK1-K127A mutant did not affect the hormonal induction of G (Na) but did suppress the activation of SGK1. Dexamethasone-treated cells grown on permeable supports formed confluent epithelial sheets that generated short circuit current due to electrogenic Na(+) absorption. Forskolin and insulin both stimulated this current and the response to insulin, but not forskolin, was LY294002-sensitive and associated with the activation of SGK1. While these data suggest that SGK1 is involved in the control of G (Na), its role may be minor, which could explain why sgk1 knockout has different effects upon different tissues.

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