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Prior studies have implicated myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) in the regulation of aquaporin-2 (AQP2) in the renal collecting duct. To discover signaling targets of MLCK, we used CRISPR-Cas9 to delete the MLCK gene (Mylk) to obtain MLCK-null mpkCCD cells and carried out comprehensive phosphoproteomics using stable isotope labeling with amino acids in cell culture for quantification. Immunocytochemistry and electron microscopy demonstrated a defect in the processing of AQP2-containing early endosomes to late endosomes. The phosphoproteomics experiments revealed that, of the 1,743 phosphopeptides quantified over multiple replicates, 107 were changed in abundance by MLCK deletion (29 decreased and 78 increased). One of the decreased phosphopeptides corresponded to the canonical target site in myosin regulatory light chain. Network analysis indicated that targeted phosphoproteins clustered into distinct structural/functional groups: actomyosin, signaling, nuclear envelope, gene transcription, mRNA processing, energy metabolism, intermediate filaments, adherens junctions, and tight junctions. There was significant overlap between the derived MLCK signaling network and a previously determined PKA signaling network. The presence of multiple proteins in the actomyosin category prompted experiments showing that MLCK deletion inhibits the normal effect of vasopressin to depolymerize F-actin, providing a potential explanation for the AQP2 trafficking defect. Changes in phosphorylation of multiple proteins in the nuclear envelope prompted measurement of nuclear size, showing a significant increase in average nuclear volume. We conclude that MLCK is part of a multicomponent signaling pathway in both the cytoplasm and nucleus that includes much more than simple regulation of conventional nonmuscle myosins through myosin regulatory light chain phosphorylation.


Kiyoshi Isobe, Viswanathan Raghuram, Laya Krishnan, Chung-Lin Chou, Chin-Rang Yang, Mark A Knepper. CRISPR-Cas9/phosphoproteomics identifies multiple noncanonical targets of myosin light chain kinase. American journal of physiology. Renal physiology. 2020 Mar 01;318(3):F600-F616

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PMID: 31904282

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