LMTK2 Mediated Phosphorylation Regulates CFTR Endocytosis in Human Airway Epithelial Cells [Membrane Biology]

April 11th, 2014 by Luz, S., Cihil, K. M., Brautigan, D. L., Amaral, M. D., Farinha, C. M., Swiatecka-Urban, A.

Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR) is a Cl--selective ion channel expressed in fluid-transporting epithelia. Lemur Tyrosine Kinase 2 (LMTK2) is a transmembrane protein with serine and threonine but not tyrosine kinase activity. Previous work identified CFTR as an in vitro substrate of LMTK2, suggesting a functional link. Here we demonstrate that LMTK2 co-immunoprecipitates with CFTR and phosphorylates CFTR-S737 in human airway epithelial cells. LMTK2 knockdown or expression of inactive LMTK2 kinase domain increases cell surface density of CFTR by attenuating its endocytosis in human airway epithelial cells. Moreover, LMTK2 knockdown increases Cl- secretion mediated by the wild-type and rescued ΔF508-CFTR. Compared to the wild-type CFTR, the phosphorylation-deficient mutant CFTR-S737A shows increased cell surface density and decreased endocytosis. These results demonstrate a novel mechanism of the phospho-dependent inhibitory effect of CFTR-S737 mediated by LMTK2 via endocytosis and inhibition of the cell surface density of CFTR Cl- channels. These data indicate that targeting LMTK2 may increase the cell surface density of CFTR Cl- channels and improve stability of pharmacologically rescued ΔF508-CFTR in patients with cystic fibrosis.