Myosin in hepatocytes is essential for bile canalicular contraction


Department of Gastroenterology Juntendo University School of Medicine Hongo 2–1–1, Bunkyo-ku Tokyo, 113 Japan


ABSTRACT— Active dynamic contraction of bile canaliculi has been observed in cultured doublet hepatocytes using time-lapse cinephotomicrography. This contractile movement plays an important role in normal bile formation. The mechanism of bile canalicular contraction has been proved to involve the Ca2+-calmodulin system and pericanalicular actin filaments. However, the role of myosin in this system is still unknown. In this study, using the newly synthesized myosin light-chain kinase inhibitor ML-9, we found that the treatment of cultured doublet hepatocytes with ML-9 inhibited canalicular contraction. This inhibitory effect suggests that myosin is involved in this complex cellular function and that the integrity of the actin-myosin system, as well as the Ca2a-calmodulin system is essential for normal bile canalicular contraction.