• microcystin-LR;
  • PP2A; B55 alpha;
  • cytoskeleton

Microcystin-LR (MC-LR) is a potent inhibitor of protein phosphatases 1 and 2A, and has potent hepatotoxicity and tumor promotion activity. Numerous studies on MC-LR toxicity have been conducted in rat hepatocytes, but few studies of the effects of microcystins on human hepatocytes have been done. In this study, HL7702 cells (a human normal liver cell line) were incubated in MC-LR for 24 h. The existence of MC-LR in HL7702 cells was confirmed. Furthermore, PP2A activity and the alteration of PP2A subunits were assessed. The results show that PP2A activity decreased from the concentration of 1 μM MC-LR, showing a concentration-dependent decline, to about 34% at 10 μM MC-LR. This activity undergone opposite change with alternations of phosphorylated Y307-PP2A/C and PP2A/C subunit but showed same change with the alteration of the ratio of methylated L309-PP2A/C to PP2A/C. B55α, a regulatory subunit of PP2A, was slightly increases in cells treated with the highest concentration of MC-LR (10 μM), and colocalized increasedly with rearranged-microtubules after 1 μM MC-LR exposure. However, the proportion of early apoptotic cells did not show any change at various concentration of MC-LR for 24 h. To our knowledge, this is the first report showing MC-LR-induced alteration of PP2A phosphatase in human cultured hepatocytes, and the mechanism of action seems to be similar as described before in vitro. The alteration of PP2A and microtubule seems to be the early event induced by MC-LR exposure. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Environ Toxicol 29: 1236–1244, 2014.