WNK1 kinase balances T cell adhesion versus migration in vivo

Robert Köchl, Flavian Thelen, Lesley Vanes, Tiago F. Brazão, Kathryn Fountain, Jian Xie, Chou Long Huang, Ruth Lyck, Jens V. Stein, Victor L J Tybulewicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


Adhesion and migration of T cells are controlled by chemokines and by adhesion molecules, especially integrins, and have critical roles in the normal physiological function of T lymphocytes. Using an RNA-mediated interference screen, we identified the WNK1 kinase as a regulator of both integrin-mediated adhesion and T cell migration. We found that WNK1 is a negative regulator of integrin-mediated adhesion, whereas it acts as a positive regulator of migration via the kinases OXSR1 and STK39 and the ion co-transporter SLC12A2. WNK1-deficient T cells home less efficiently to lymphoid organs and migrate more slowly through them. Our results reveal that a pathway previously known only to regulate salt homeostasis in the kidney functions to balance T cell adhesion and migration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1075-1083
Number of pages9
JournalNature immunology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 19 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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    Köchl, R., Thelen, F., Vanes, L., Brazão, T. F., Fountain, K., Xie, J., Huang, C. L., Lyck, R., Stein, J. V., & Tybulewicz, V. L. J. (2016). WNK1 kinase balances T cell adhesion versus migration in vivo. Nature immunology, 17(9), 1075-1083. https://doi.org/10.1038/ni.3495