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1.  Interplay between Polo kinase, LKB1-activated NUAK1 kinase, PP1βMYPT1 phosphatase complex and the SCFβTrCP E3 ubiquitin ligase 
Biochemical Journal  2014;461(Pt 2):233-245.
NUAK1 (NUAK family SnF1-like kinase-1) and NUAK2 protein kinases are activated by the LKB1 tumour suppressor and have been implicated in regulating multiple processes such as cell survival, senescence, adhesion and polarity. In the present paper we present evidence that expression of NUAK1 is controlled by CDK (cyclin-dependent kinase), PLK (Polo kinase) and the SCFβTrCP (Skp, Cullin and F-boxβTrCP) E3 ubiquitin ligase complex. Our data indicate that CDK phosphorylates NUAK1 at Ser445, triggering binding to PLK, which subsequently phosphorylates NUAK1 at two conserved non-catalytic serine residues (Ser476 and Ser480). This induces binding of NUAK1 to βTrCP, the substrate-recognition subunit of the SCFβTrCP E3 ligase, resulting in NUAK1 becoming ubiquitylated and degraded. We also show that NUAK1 and PLK1 are reciprocally controlled in the cell cycle. In G2–M-phase, when PLK1 is most active, NUAK1 levels are low and vice versa in S-phase, when PLK1 expression is low, NUAK1 is more highly expressed. Moreover, NUAK1 inhibitors (WZ4003 or HTH-01-015) suppress proliferation by reducing the population of cells in S-phase and mitosis, an effect that can be rescued by overexpression of a NUAK1 mutant in which Ser476 and Ser480 are mutated to alanine. Finally, previous work has suggested that NUAK1 phosphorylates and inhibits PP1βMYPT1 (where PP1 is protein phosphatase 1) and that a major role for the PP1βMYPT1 complex is to inhibit PLK1 by dephosphorylating its T-loop (Thr210). We demonstrate that activation of NUAK1 leads to a striking increase in phosphorylation of PLK1 at Thr210, an effect that is suppressed by NUAK1 inhibitors. Our data link NUAK1 to important cell-cycle signalling components (CDK, PLK and SCFβTrCP) and suggest that NUAK1 plays a role in stimulating S-phase, as well as PLK1 activity via its ability to regulate the PP1βMYPT1 phosphatase.
The present study provides insights into the biological regulation of the NUAK isoforms and highlights the remarkable interplay that exists between Polo kinase, NUAK1, PP1βMYPT1 and SCFβTrCP signalling components. It demonstrates NUAK1 inhibitors suppress cell proliferation and PLK1.
doi:10.1042/BJ20140408
PMCID: PMC4109838  PMID: 24785407
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK); AMPK-related kinase 5 (ARK5); cell cycle; degron; mitosis; Polo kinase (PLK) ubiquitylation; AMPK, AMP-activated protein kinase; CDK, cyclin-dependent kinase; CK1, casein kinase 1; Cul1, cullin 1; DMEM, Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium; DTB, double thymidine block; Emi1, early mitotic inhibitor 1; GST, glutathione transferase; HA, haemagglutinin; HEK, human embryonic kidney; HRP, horseradish peroxidase; IKK, inhibitor of nuclear factor κB kinase; MEF, mouse embryonic fibroblast; LKB1, liver kinase B1; NEM, N-ethylmaleimide; NUAK, NUAK family SnF1-like kinase; PEI, polyethylenimine; PI, propidium iodide; PLK1, Polo kinase 1; PP1, protein phosphatase 1; SCFβTrCP, Skp, Cullin and F-boxβTrCP; SKP1, S-phase kinase-associated protein 1; Wee1, WEE1 G2 checkpoint kinase; WT, wild-type; XIC, extracted ion chromatogram analysis
2.  The WNK-regulated SPAK/OSR1 kinases directly phosphorylate and inhibit the K+–Cl− co-transporters 
Biochemical Journal  2014;458(Pt 3):559-573.
Precise homoeostasis of the intracellular concentration of Cl− is achieved via the co-ordinated activities of the Cl− influx and efflux. We demonstrate that the WNK (WNK lysine-deficient protein kinase)-activated SPAK (SPS1-related proline/alanine-rich kinase)/OSR1 (oxidative stress-responsive kinase 1) known to directly phosphorylate and stimulate the N[K]CCs (Na+–K+ ion co-transporters), also promote inhibition of the KCCs (K+–Cl− co-transporters) by directly phosphorylating a recently described C-terminal threonine residue conserved in all KCC isoforms [Site-2 (Thr1048)]. First, we demonstrate that SPAK and OSR1, in the presence of the MO25 regulatory subunit, robustly phosphorylates all KCC isoforms at Site-2 in vitro. Secondly, STOCK1S-50699, a WNK pathway inhibitor, suppresses SPAK/OSR1 activation and KCC3A Site-2 phosphorylation with similar efficiency. Thirdly, in ES (embryonic stem) cells lacking SPAK/OSR1 activity, endogenous phosphorylation of KCC isoforms at Site-2 is abolished and these cells display elevated basal activity of 86Rb+ uptake that was not markedly stimulated further by hypotonic high K+ conditions, consistent with KCC3A activation. Fourthly, a tight correlation exists between SPAK/OSR1 activity and the magnitude of KCC3A Site-2 phosphorylation. Lastly, a Site-2 alanine KCC3A mutant preventing SPAK/OSR1 phosphorylation exhibits increased activity. We also observe that KCCs are directly phosphorylated by SPAK/OSR1, at a novel Site-3 (Thr5 in KCC1/KCC3 and Thr6 in KCC2/KCC4), and a previously recognized KCC3-specific residue, Site-4 (Ser96). These data demonstrate that the WNK-regulated SPAK/OSR1 kinases directly phosphorylate the N[K]CCs and KCCs, promoting their stimulation and inhibition respectively. Given these reciprocal actions with anticipated net effects of increasing Cl− influx, we propose that the targeting of WNK–SPAK/OSR1 with kinase inhibitors might be a novel potent strategy to enhance cellular Cl− extrusion, with potential implications for the therapeutic modulation of epithelial and neuronal ion transport in human disease states.
WNK-regulated SPAK/OSR1 act as direct phosphorylators and major regulators of the KCC isoforms, which explains how activation of the WNK signalling pathway can co-ordinately regulate Cl− influx and efflux by reciprocally controlling the SLC12A family N[K]CC and KCC isoforms.
doi:10.1042/BJ20131478
PMCID: PMC3940040  PMID: 24393035
γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA); blood pressure/hypertension; ion homoeostasis; K+–Cl− co-transporter 2 (KCC2); K+–Cl− co-transporter 3 (KCC3); Na+–Cl− co-transporter (NCC); Na+–K+–2Cl− co-transporter 1 (NKCC1); protein kinase; signal transduction; CCC, cation–Cl− co-transporter; CCT, conserved C-terminal; CTD, C-terminal cytoplasmic domain; ERK1, extracellular-signal-regulated kinase 1; ES, embryonic stem; HEK, human embryonic kidney; HRP, horseradish peroxidase; KCC, K+–Cl− co-transporter; LDS, lithium dodecyl sulfate; NCC, Na+–Cl− co-transporter; N[K]CC, Na+–K+ ion co-transporter; NKCC, Na+–K+–2Cl− co-transporter; NTD, N-terminal cytoplasmic domain; OSR1, oxidative stress-responsive kinase 1; SLC12, solute carrier family 12; SPAK, SPS1-related proline/alanine-rich kinase; TTBS, Tris-buffered saline containing Tween 20; WNK, WNK lysine-deficient protein kinase; XIC, extracted ion chromatogram
3.  PINK1 is activated by mitochondrial membrane potential depolarization and stimulates Parkin E3 ligase activity by phosphorylating Serine 65 
Open Biology  2012;2(5):120080.
Summary
Missense mutations in PTEN-induced kinase 1 (PINK1) cause autosomal-recessive inherited Parkinson's disease (PD). We have exploited our recent discovery that recombinant insect PINK1 is catalytically active to test whether PINK1 directly phosphorylates 15 proteins encoded by PD-associated genes as well as proteins reported to bind PINK1. We have discovered that insect PINK1 efficiently phosphorylates only one of these proteins, namely the E3 ligase Parkin. We have mapped the phosphorylation site to a highly conserved residue within the Ubl domain of Parkin at Ser65. We show that human PINK1 is specifically activated by mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψm) depolarization, enabling it to phosphorylate Parkin at Ser65. We further show that phosphorylation of Parkin at Ser65 leads to marked activation of its E3 ligase activity that is prevented by mutation of Ser65 or inactivation of PINK1. We provide evidence that once activated, PINK1 autophosphorylates at several residues, including Thr257, which is accompanied by an electrophoretic mobility band-shift. These results provide the first evidence that PINK1 is activated following Δψm depolarization and suggest that PINK1 directly phosphorylates and activates Parkin. Our findings indicate that monitoring phosphorylation of Parkin at Ser65 and/or PINK1 at Thr257 represent the first biomarkers for examining activity of the PINK1-Parkin signalling pathway in vivo. Our findings also suggest that small molecule activators of Parkin that mimic the effect of PINK1 phosphorylation may confer therapeutic benefit for PD.
doi:10.1098/rsob.120080
PMCID: PMC3376738  PMID: 22724072
PINK1; Parkin; Parkinson's disease
4.  Discovery of catalytically active orthologues of the Parkinson's disease kinase PINK1: analysis of substrate specificity and impact of mutations 
Open biology  2011;1(3):110012.
Missense mutations of the phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN)-induced kinase 1 (PINK1) gene cause autosomal-recessive Parkinson's disease. To date, little is known about the intrinsic catalytic properties of PINK1 since the human enzyme displays such low kinase activity in vitro. We have discovered that, in contrast to mammalian PINK1, insect orthologues of PINK1 we have investigated—namely Drosophila melanogaster (dPINK1), Tribolium castaneum (TcPINK1) and Pediculus humanus corporis (PhcPINK1)—are active as judged by their ability to phosphorylate the generic substrate myelin basic protein. We have exploited the most active orthologue, TcPINK1, to assess its substrate specificity and elaborated a peptide substrate (PINKtide, KKWIpYRRSPRRR) that can be employed to quantify PINK1 kinase activity. Analysis of PINKtide variants reveal that PINK1 phosphorylates serine or threonine, but not tyrosine, and we show that PINK1 exhibits a preference for a proline at the +1 position relative to the phosphorylation site. We have also, for the first time, been able to investigate the effect of Parkinson's disease-associated PINK1 missense mutations, and found that nearly all those located within the kinase domain, as well as the C-terminal non-catalytic region, markedly suppress kinase activity. This emphasizes the crucial importance of PINK1 kinase activity in preventing the development of Parkinson's disease. Our findings will aid future studies aimed at understanding how the activity of PINK1 is regulated and the identification of physiological substrates.
doi:10.1098/rsob.110012
PMCID: PMC3352081  PMID: 22645651
biochemistry; Parkinson's disease; kinase
5.  14-3-3 binding to LRRK2 is disrupted by multiple Parkinson's disease-associated mutations and regulates cytoplasmic localization 
Biochemical Journal  2010;430(Pt 3):393-404.
LRRK2 (leucine-rich repeat protein kinase 2) is mutated in a significant number of Parkinson's disease patients, but still little is understood about how it is regulated or functions. In the present study we have demonstrated that 14-3-3 protein isoforms interact with LRRK2. Consistent with this, endogenous LRRK2 isolated from Swiss 3T3 cells or various mouse tissues is associated with endogenous 14-3-3 isoforms. We have established that 14-3-3 binding is mediated by phosphorylation of LRRK2 at two conserved residues (Ser910 and Ser935) located before the leucine-rich repeat domain. Our results suggests that mutation of Ser910 and/or Ser935 to disrupt 14-3-3 binding does not affect intrinsic protein kinase activity, but induces LRRK2 to accumulate within discrete cytoplasmic pools, perhaps resembling inclusion bodies. To investigate links between 14-3-3 binding and Parkinson's disease, we studied how 41 reported mutations of LRRK2 affected 14-3-3 binding and cellular localization. Strikingly, we found that five of the six most common pathogenic mutations (R1441C, R1441G, R1441H, Y1699C and I2020T) display markedly reduced phosphorylation of Ser910/Ser935 thereby disrupting interaction with 14-3-3. We have also demonstrated that Ser910/Ser935 phosphorylation and 14-3-3 binding to endogenous LRRK2 is significantly reduced in tissues of homozygous LRRK2(R1441C) knock-in mice. Consistent with 14-3-3 regulating localization, all of the common pathogenic mutations displaying reduced 14-3-3-binding accumulated within inclusion bodies. We also found that three of the 41 LRRK2 mutations analysed displayed elevated protein kinase activity (R1728H, ~2-fold; G2019S, ~3-fold; and T2031S, ~4-fold). These results provide the first evidence suggesting that 14-3-3 regulates LRRK2 and that disruption of the interaction of LRRK2 with 14-3-3 may be linked to Parkinson's disease.
doi:10.1042/BJ20100483
PMCID: PMC2932554  PMID: 20642453
cytoplasmic localization; 14-3-3 protein; leucine-rich repeat protein kinase 2 (LRRK2); Parkinson's disease; pathogenic mutation; phosphorylation; CDC, cell division cycle; DIG, digoxigenin; DMEM, Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium; DTT, dithiothreitol; FBS, fetal bovine serum; GFP, green fluorescent protein; HEK-293, human embryonic kidney; Hsp90, heat-shock protein 90; IPI, International Protein Index; KLH, keyhole-limpet haemocyanin; LRRK2, leucine-rich repeat protein kinase 2; MARK3, microtubule affinity-regulating kinase 3; PD, Parkinson's disease; ROC, Ras of complex GTPase domain; COR, C-terminal of ROC; SILAC, stable isotope labelling of amino acids; TBST, Tris-buffered saline with Tween 20
6.  Regulation of activity and localization of the WNK1 protein kinase by hyperosmotic stress 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2007;176(1):89-100.
Mutations within the WNK1 (with-no-K[Lys] kinase-1) gene cause Gordon's hypertension syndrome. Little is known about how WNK1 is regulated. We demonstrate that WNK1 is rapidly activated and phosphorylated at multiple residues after exposure of cells to hyperosmotic conditions and that activation is mediated by the phosphorylation of its T-loop Ser382 residue, possibly triggered by a transautophosphorylation reaction. Activation of WNK1 coincides with the phosphorylation and activation of two WNK1 substrates, namely, the protein kinases STE20/SPS1-related proline alanine–rich kinase (SPAK) and oxidative stress response kinase-1 (OSR1). Small interfering RNA depletion of WNK1 impairs SPAK/OSR1 activity and phosphorylation of residues targeted by WNK1. Hyperosmotic stress induces rapid redistribution of WNK1 from the cytosol to vesicular structures that may comprise trans-Golgi network (TGN)/recycling endosomes, as they display rapid movement, colocalize with clathrin, adaptor protein complex 1 (AP-1), and TGN46, but not the AP-2 plasma membrane–coated pit marker nor the endosomal markers EEA1, Hrs, and LAMP1. Mutational analysis suggests that the WNK1 C-terminal noncatalytic domain mediates vesicle localization. Our observations shed light on the mechanism by which WNK1 is regulated by hyperosmotic stress.
doi:10.1083/jcb.200605093
PMCID: PMC2063630  PMID: 17190791
7.  The LKB1-salt-inducible kinase pathway functions as a key gluconeogenic suppressor in the liver 
Nature Communications  2014;5:4535.
LKB1 is a master kinase that regulates metabolism and growth through adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and 12 other closely related kinases. Liver-specific ablation of LKB1 causes increased glucose production in hepatocytes in vitro and hyperglycaemia in fasting mice in vivo. Here we report that the salt-inducible kinases (SIK1, 2 and 3), members of the AMPK-related kinase family, play a key role as gluconeogenic suppressors downstream of LKB1 in the liver. The selective SIK inhibitor HG-9-91-01 promotes dephosphorylation of transcriptional co-activators CRTC2/3 resulting in enhanced gluconeogenic gene expression and glucose production in hepatocytes, an effect that is abolished when an HG-9-91-01-insensitive mutant SIK is introduced or LKB1 is ablated. Although SIK2 was proposed as a key regulator of insulin-mediated suppression of gluconeogenesis, we provide genetic evidence that liver-specific ablation of SIK2 alone has no effect on gluconeogenesis and insulin does not modulate SIK2 phosphorylation or activity. Collectively, we demonstrate that the LKB1–SIK pathway functions as a key gluconeogenic gatekeeper in the liver.
The liver is an important regulator of glucose homeostasis. Here, the authors provide insight into the molecular signalling pathways controlling hepatic gluconeogenesis by showing that SIK protein kinases suppress gluconeogenesis, and that glucagon—but not insulin—regulates phosphorylation of SIK2.
doi:10.1038/ncomms5535
PMCID: PMC4143937  PMID: 25088745

Results 1-7 (7)