This study describes a unique function of taurocholate in bile canalicular formation involving signaling through a cAMP-Epac-MEK-Rap1-LKB1-AMPK pathway. In rat hepatocyte sandwich cultures, polarization was manifested by sequential progression of bile canaliculi from small structures to a fully branched network. Taurocholate accelerated canalicular network formation and concomitantly increased cAMP, which were prevented by adenyl cyclase inhibitor. The cAMP-dependent PKA inhibitor did not prevent the taurocholate effect. In contrast, activation of Epac, another cAMP downstream kinase, accelerated canalicular network formation similar to the effect of taurocholate. Inhibition of Epac downstream targets, Rap1 and MEK, blocked the taurocholate effect. Taurocholate rapidly activated MEK, LKB1, and AMPK, which were prevented by inhibition of adenyl cyclase or MEK. Our previous study showed that activated-LKB1 and AMPK participate in canalicular network formation. Linkage between bile acid synthesis, hepatocyte polarization, and regulation of energy metabolism is likely important in normal hepatocyte development and disease.
Natural Sciences in General