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Biosci Rep. 2014 May 9;34(3). pii: e00107. doi: 10.1042/BSR20140047.

WNK4 is the major WNK positively regulating NCC in the mouse kidney.

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*Department of Nephrology, Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo, Tokyo 113-8519, Japan.


By analysing the pathogenesis of a hereditary hypertensive disease, PHAII (pseudohypoaldosteronism type II), we previously discovered that WNK (with-no-lysine kinase)-OSR1/SPAK (oxidative stress-responsive 1/Ste20-like proline/alanine-rich kinase) cascade regulates NCC (Na-Cl co-transporter) in the DCT (distal convoluted tubules) of the kidney. However, the role of WNK4 in the regulation of NCC remains controversial. To address this, we generated and analysed WNK4-/- mice. Although a moderate decrease in SPAK phosphorylation and a marked increase in WNK1 expression were evident in the kidneys of WNK4-/- mice, the amount of phosphorylated and total NCC decreased to almost undetectable levels, indicating that WNK4 is the major WNK positively regulating NCC, and that WNK1 cannot compensate for WNK4 deficiency in the DCT. Insulin- and low-potassium diet-induced NCC phosphorylation were abolished in WNK4-/- mice, establishing that both signals to NCC were mediated by WNK4. As shown previously, a high-salt diet decreases phosphorylated and total NCC in WNK4+/+ mice via AngII (angiotensin II) and aldosterone suppression. This was not ameliorated by WNK4 knock out, excluding the negative regulation of WNK4 on NCC postulated to be active in the absence of AngII stimulation. Thus, WNK4 is the major positive regulator of NCC in the kidneys.

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