ATP8B1 requires an accessory protein for endoplasmic reticulum exit and plasma membrane lipid flippase activity


  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.


Mutations in ATP8B1 cause progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis type 1 and benign recurrent intrahepatic cholestasis type 1. Previously, we have shown in mice that Atp8b1 deficiency leads to enhanced biliary excretion of phosphatidylserine, and we hypothesized that ATP8B1 is a flippase for phosphatidylserine. However, direct evidence for this function is still lacking. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, members of the Cdc50p/Lem3p family are essential for proper function of the ATP8B1 homologs. We have studied the role of two human members of this family, CDC50A and CDC50B, in the routing and activity of ATP8B1. When only ATP8B1 was expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells, the protein localized to the endoplasmic reticulum. Coexpression with CDC50 proteins resulted in relocalization of ATP8B1 from the endoplasmic reticulum to the plasma membrane. Only when ATP8B1 was coexpressed with CDC50 proteins was a 250%-500% increase in the translocation of fluorescently labeled phosphatidylserine observed. Importantly, natural phosphatidylserine exposure in the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane was reduced by 17%-25% in cells coexpressing ATP8B1 and CDC50 proteins in comparison with cells expressing ATP8B1 alone. The coexpression of ATP8B1 and CDC50A in WIF-B9 cells resulted in colocalization of both proteins in the canalicular membrane. Conclusion: Our data indicate that CDC50 proteins are pivotal factors in the trafficking of ATP8B1 to the plasma membrane and thus may be essential determinants of ATP8B1-related disease. In the plasma membrane, ATP8B1 functions as a flippase for phosphatidylserine. Finally, CDC50A may be the potential β-subunit or chaperone for ATP8B1 in hepatocytes. (HEPATOLOGY 2007.)