A Single Amino Acid Substitution Makes WNK4 Susceptible to SB 203580 and SB 202190

Mark Glover1 , Connor Sweeney1, Bill Davis2, Kevin M O’Shaughnessy*, 1
1 Clinical Pharmacology Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
2 GlaxoSmithKline Clinical Unit, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, UK

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© Glover et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Clinical Pharmacology Unit, Box 110, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, CB2 2QQ, UK; Tel: +44 1223 762578; Fax: +44 1223 762576; E-mail:


Regulation of the SLC12 family of membrane transporters including NCCT involves a scaffold of interacting proteins including the STE 20 kinase SPAK and the WNK kinases, WNK 1 and WNK 4, which are mutated in the hypertensive syndrome of pseudohypoaldosteronism type 2 (PHAII). WNK4 regulates NCCT by affecting forward trafficking to the surface membrane. Studies in Xenopus using kinase dead WNK4 site mutants have produced inconsistent results with regard to the necessity of kinase function for NCCT regulation. Dynamic inhibition of WNK4 by small molecules may bring clarity to this issue however WNK4 is naturally resistant to commercial MAP kinase inhibitors owing to steric constraints prohibiting entry of small molecules to the active site. Using an approach similar to that used in p38 and ERK, we show that a single substitution in WNK4 (T261G) dramatically enhances its susceptibility to the inhibitors SB 202190 and SB 203580.

Keywords: WNK kinases, protein kinase inhibitors, active site, transporters, sequence mutagenesis.