Discovery of novel SPAK inhibitors that block WNK kinase signaling to cation chloride transporters

Eriko Kikuchi, Takayasu Mori, Moko Zeniya, Kiyoshi Isobe, Mari Ishigami-Yuasa, Shinya Fujii, Hiroyuki Kagechika, Tomoaki Ishihara, Tohru Mizushima, Sei Sasaki, Eisei Sohara, Tatemitsu Rai, Shinichi Uchida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Upon activation by with-no-lysine kinases, STE20/SPS1-related proline-alanine-rich protein kinase (SPAK) phosphorylates and activates SLC12A transporters such as the Na+-Cl2 cotransporter (NCC) and Na+-K+-2Cl2 cotransporter type 1 (NKCC1) and type 2 (NKCC2); these transporters have important roles in regulating BP throughNaCl reabsorption and vasoconstriction. SPAK knockoutmice are viable and display hypotension with decreased activity (phosphorylation) of NCC and NKCC1 in the kidneys and aorta, respectively. Therefore, agents that inhibit SPAK activity could be a new class of antihypertensive drugs with dual actions (i.e., NaCl diuresis and vasodilation). In this study, we developed a new ELISA-based screening system to find novel SPAK inhibitors and screened .20,000 small-molecule compounds. Furthermore, we used a drug repositioning strategy to identify existing drugs that inhibit SPAK activity. As a result, we discovered one small-molecule compound (Stock 1S-14279) and an antiparasitic agent (Closantel) that inhibited SPAK-regulated phosphorylation and activationofNCCandNKCC1in vitro and inmice. Notably, these compounds had structural similarity and inhibited SPAK in an ATP-insensitivemanner.Wepropose that the two compounds found in this study may have great potential as novel antihypertensive drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1525-1536
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jul 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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