Cell Physiology

Differential regulation of a CLC anion channel by SPAK kinase ortholog-mediated multisite phosphorylation

Hiroaki Miyazaki, Kevin Strange


Shrinkage-induced inhibition of the Caenorhabditis elegans cell volume and cell cycle-dependent CLC anion channel CLH-3b occurs by concomitant phosphorylation of S742 and S747, which are located on a 175 amino acid linker domain between cystathionine-β-synthase 1 (CBS1) and CBS2. Phosphorylation is mediated by the SPAK kinase homolog GCK-3 and is mimicked by substituting serine residues with glutamate. Type 1 serine/threonine protein phosphatases mediate swelling-induced channel dephosphorylation. S742E/S747E double mutant channels are constitutively inactive and cannot be activated by cell swelling. S742E and S747E mutant channels were fully active in the absence of GCK-3 and were inactive when coexpressed with the kinase. Both channels responded to cell volume changes. However, the S747E mutant channel activated and inactivated in response to cell swelling and shrinkage, respectively, much more slowly than either wild-type or S742E mutant channels. Slower activation and inactivation of S747E was not due to altered rates of dephosphorylation or dephosphorylation-dependent conformational changes. GCK-3 binds to the 175 amino acid inter-CBS linker domain. Coexpression of wild-type CLH-3b and GCK-3 with either wild-type or S742E linkers gave rise to similar channel activity and regulation. In contrast, coexpression with the S747E linker greatly enhanced basal channel activity and increased the rate of shrinkage-induced channel inactivation. Our findings suggest the intriguing possibility that the phosphorylation state of S742 in S747E mutant channels modulates GCK-3/channel interaction and hence channel phosphorylation. These results provide a foundation for further detailed studies of the role of multisite phosphorylation in regulating CLH-3b and GCK-3 activity.

  • GCK-3
  • cell volume
  • chloride channel
  • C. elegans


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