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J Biol Chem. 2002 Oct 4;277(40):37551-8. Epub 2002 Jul 26.

Activation of the Na-K-Cl cotransporter NKCC1 detected with a phospho-specific antibody.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


The Na-K-Cl cotransporter NKCC1 is activated by phosphorylation of a regulatory domain in its N terminus. In the accompanying paper (Darman, R. B., and Forbush, B. (2002) J. Biol. Chem. 277, 37542-37550), we identify three phosphothreonines important in this process. Using a phospho-specific antibody (anti-phospho-NKCC1 antibody R5) raised against a diphosphopeptide containing Thr(212) and Thr(217) of human NKCC, we were readily able to monitor the cotransporter activation state. In (32)P phosphorylation experiments with rectal gland tubules, we show that the R5 antibody signal is proportional to the amount of (32)P incorporated into NKCC1; and in experiments with NKCC1-transfected HEK-293 cells, we demonstrate that R5-detected phosphorylation directly mirrors functional activation. Immunofluorescence analysis of shark rectal gland shows activation-dependent R5 antibody staining along the basolateral membrane. In perfused rat parotid glands, isoproterenol induced staining of both acinar and ductal cells along the basolateral membrane. Isoproterenol also induced basolateral staining of the epithelial cells in rat trachea, whereas basal cells in the subepithelial tissue displayed heavy, non-polarized staining of the cell membrane. In rat colon, agonist stimulation induced staining along the basolateral membrane of crypt cells. These data provide direct evidence of NKCC1 regulation in these tissues, and they further link phosphorylation of NKCC1 with its activation in transfected cells and native tissue. The high conservation of the regulatory threonine residues among NKCC1, NKCC2, and NCC family members, together with the fact that tissues from divergent vertebrate species exhibit similar R5-binding profiles, lends further support to the role of this regulatory locus in vivo.

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