The sodium-chloride cotransporter, NCC, is essential for renal electrolyte balance. NCC function can be modulated by protein phosphorylation. In this study, we characterized the role and physiological regulation of a novel phosphorylation site in NCC at Ser124 (S124). Novel phospho-specific antibodies targeting pS124-NCC demonstrated a band of 160 kDa in the kidney cortex, but not medulla, which was preabsorbed by a corresponding phosphorylated peptide. Confocal microscopy with kidney tubule segment-specific markers localized pS124-NCC to all distal convoluted tubule cells. Double immunogold electron microscopy demonstrated that pS124-NCC co-localized with total NCC in the apical plasma membrane of distal convoluted tubule cells and intracellular vesicles. Acute treatment of Munich-Wistar rats or vasopressin-deficient Brattleboro rats with the vasopressin type 2 receptor-specific agonist dDAVP significantly increased pS124-NCC abundance, with no changes in total NCC plasma membrane abundance. pS124-NCC levels also increased in abundance in rats after stimulation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system by dietary low sodium intake. In contrast to other NCC phosphorylation sites, the STE20/SPS1-related proline-alanine-rich kinase and oxidative stress-response kinases (SPAK and OSR1) were not able to phosphorylate NCC at S124. Protein kinase arrays identified multiple kinases that were able to bind to the region surrounding S124. Four of these kinases (IRAK2, CDK6/Cyclin D1, NLK and mTOR/FRAP) showed weak but significant phosphorylation activity at S124. In oocytes, (36)Cl uptake studies combined with biochemical analysis showed decreased activity of plasma membrane-associated NCC when replacing S124 with alanine (A) or aspartic acid (D). In novel tetracycline-inducible MDCKII-NCC cell lines, S124A and S124D mutants were able to traffic to the plasma membrane similarly to wildtype NCC.
Journal of Physiology, 2012, Vol 590, Issue Pt 23, p. 6121-39