Hepatic canalicular membrane 1: The role of mdr2 P-glycoprotein in hepatobiliary lipid transport

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The small apical (canalicular) domains of hepatocytes form a luminal meshwork of tubules between adjacent hepatocytes and are the sites of primary bile formation. Organic compounds are transported across this membrane domain against high concentration gradients. It has been recognized in recent years that the hepatocyte is harnessed with a set of canalicular ATP-dependent transport proteins, specialized in this uphill transport. Bile salts, organic anions, cations, and neutral amphipaths are all pumped into the bile via such primary active transporters. Functionally, these transporters resemble ABC transporters overexpressed in cells with the multidrug resistance phenotype. Indeed, those transporters that have been characterized at the molecular level turn out to be new, or already recognized, members of this family. Phospholipid secretion across the canalicular membrane of the mouse is also mediated by a member of this family, mdr2 P-glycoprotein. This was demonstrated by the absence of phospholipid secretion into bile of mice with a disrupted mdr2 gene and by subsequent demonstration of phospholipid translocation in cells that overexpress this protein. The recognition of mdr2 P-glycoprotein as a phospholipid flippase sheds new light on the function of P-glycoproteins and is an important step in understanding the mechanism of biliary lipid secretion
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-28
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997

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