NYMC Faculty Publications

With No Lysine Kinase 4 Modulates Sodium Potassium 2 Chloride Cotransporter Activity In Vivo

Journal Title

American Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology

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Publication Date

October 2018




With no lysine kinase 4 (WNK4) is essential to activate the thiazide-sensitive NaCl cotransporter (NCC) along the distal convoluted tubule, an effect central to the phenotype of familial hyperkalemic hypertension. Although effects on potassium and sodium channels along the connecting and collecting tubules have also been documented, WNK4 is typically believed to have little role in modulating sodium chloride reabsorption along the thick ascending limb of the loop of Henle. Yet wnk4-/- mice (knockout mice lacking WNK4) do not demonstrate the hypocalciuria typical of pure distal convoluted tubule dysfunction. Here, we tested the hypothesis that WNK4 also modulates bumetanide-sensitive Na-K-2Cl cotransporter (NKCC2) function along the thick ascending limb. We confirmed that wnk4-/- mice are hypokalemic and waste sodium chloride, but are also normocalciuric. Results from Western blots suggested that the phosphorylated forms of both NCC and NKCC2 were in lower abundance in wnk4-/- mice than in controls. This finding was confirmed by immunofluorescence microscopy. Although the initial response to furosemide was similar in wnk4-/- mice and controls, the response was lower in the knockout mice when reabsorption along the distal convoluted tubule was inhibited. Using HEK293 cells, we showed that WNK4 increases the abundance of phosphorylated NKCC2. More supporting evidence that WNK4 may modulate NKCC2 emerges from a mouse model of WNK4-mediated familial hyperkalemic hypertension in which more phosphorylated NKCC2 is present than in controls. These data indicate that WNK4, in addition to modulating NCC, also modulates NKCC2, contributing to its physiological function in vivo.