CCT and CCT-Like Modular Protein Interaction Domains in WNK Signaling

Clinton A. Taylor IV, Melanie H. Cobb

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The WNK [with no lysine (K)] kinases and their downstream effector kinases, oxidative stress responsive 1 (OSR1) and SPS/STE20-related proline-alanine-rich kinase (SPAK), have well established functions in the maintenance of cell volume and ion homeostasis. Mutations in these kinases have been linked to an inherited form of hypertension, neurologic defects, and other pathologies. A rapidly expanding body of evidence points to the involvement of WNKs in regulating multiple diverse cellular processes as well as the progression of some forms of cancer. How OSR1 and SPAK contribute to these processes is well understood in some cases but completely unknown in others. OSR1 and SPAK are targeted to both WNKs and substrates via their conserved C-terminal (CCT) protein interaction domains. Considerable effort has been put forth to understand the structure, function, and interaction specificity of the CCT domains in relation to WNK signaling, and multiple inhibitors of WNK signaling target these domains. The domains bind RFxV and RxFxV protein sequence motifs with the consensus sequence R-F-x-V/I or R-x-F-x-V/I, but residues outside the core motif also contribute to specificity. CCT interactions are required for OSR1 and SPAK activation and deactivation as well as cation-chloride cotransporter substrate phosphorylation. All four WNKs also contain CCT-like domains that have similar structures and conserved binding residues when compared with CCT domains, but their functions and interaction specificities are mostly unknown. A better understanding of the varied actions of these domains and their interactions will better define the known signaling mechanisms of the WNK pathway as well as uncover new ones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-212
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Pharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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