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A family of serine/threonine kinases (with no K (lysine) protein kinases) of the STE20 family that have cysteine, not lysine, at a key position in the active site and are activated by hyperosmotic stress. WNKs in turn activate SPAK and OSR1 and defects can cause pseudohypoaldosteronism. Human WNK-1 (1246 aa) is expressed in most tissues, but particularly in polarized epithelia involved in chloride ion transport. WNK2 (2126 aa) is widely expressed, but its function is unclear. WNK3 (1800 aa) regulates transport mediated by both the Na-K-2Cl cotransporter (SLC12A1) and the Na-Cl cotransporter (SLC12A3). WNK4 (1243 aa) colocalizes with ZO1 in specific regions of the kidney and regulates SLC12A3.

Subjects: Chemistry — Medicine and Health.

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