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Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2008 Jul;295(1):F290-4. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00072.2008. Epub 2008 Apr 23.

The phosphorylation state of serine 256 is dominant over that of serine 261 in the regulation of AQP2 trafficking in renal epithelial cells.

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Center for Systems Biology, Program in Membrane Biology and Division of Nephrology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Phosphorylation of serine 256 (S256) plays a critical role in vasopressin (VP)-mediated membrane accumulation of aquaporin-2 (AQP2). Recently, phosphorylation of serine 261 was also reported, raising the possibility that it has a role in AQP2 trafficking. We addressed this issue using transfected LLC-PK(1) cells that express point mutations of AQP2 S261 and S256, mimicking the phosphorylated (S to D) or dephosphorylated (S to A) states of these residues. Both AQP2 (S261A) and AQP2 (S261D) were located in the perinuclear cytoplasm without stimulation but, like wild-type AQP2, they both accumulated on the plasma membrane after 20-min exposure to VP or forskolin. Following membrane accumulation, S261A, S261D, and wild-type AQP2 reinternalization was complete over a similar time frame, between 30 and 60 min after VP washout. Using various combinations of point mutations, we showed that the phosphorylation state of S256 is dominant with respect to AQP2 behavior; AQP2 membrane accumulation and internalization were not detectably affected by the phosphorylation state of S261. Finally, blocking AQP2 endocytosis by methyl-beta-cyclodextrin caused membrane accumulation of AQP2 in cells expressing either a single S-A mutation or double mutations of S256 and S261, although as previously reported, the S256D mutation was always present at the cell surface. This suggests that constitutive recycling of AQP2 was not modified by the phosphorylation state of S261. Together, our data indicate that the phosphorylation state of AQP2 at S261 does not detectably affect regulated or constitutive trafficking of AQP2. The potential role of S261 phosphorylation/dephosphorylation in vasopressin action remains to be determined.

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