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Regulation of bile canalicular network formation and maintenance by AMP-activated protein kinase and LKB1
Dong Fu, Yoshiyuki Wakabayashi, Yasuo Ido, Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, Irwin M. Arias


AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a cellular metabolic sensor, is essential in energy regulation and metabolism. Hepatocyte polarization during liver development and regeneration parallels increased metabolism. The current study investigates the effects of AMPK and its upstream activator LKB1 on polarity and bile canalicular network formation and maintenance in collagen sandwich cultures of rat hepatocytes. Immunostaining for the apical protein ABCB1 and the tight junction marker occludin demonstrated that canalicular network formation is sequential and is associated with activation of AMPK and LKB1. AMPK and LKB1 activators accelerated canalicular network formation. Inhibition of AMPK or LKB1 by dominant-negative AMPK or kinase-dead LKB1 constructs blocked canalicular network formation. AICAR and 2-deoxyglucose, which activate AMPK, circumvented the inhibitory effect of kinase-dead LKB1 on canalicular formation, indicating that AMPK directly affects canalicular network formation. After the canalicular network was formed, inhibition of AMPK and LKB1 by dominant-negative AMPK or kinase-dead LKB1 constructs resulted in loss of canalicular network, indicating that AMPK and LKB1 also participate in network maintenance. In addition, activation of AMPK and LKB1 prevented low-Ca2+-mediated disruption of the canalicular network and tight junctions. These studies reveal that AMPK and its upstream kinase, LKB1, regulate canalicular network formation and maintenance.

  • Accepted June 21, 2010.
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