Cholangiocyte primary cilia are chemosensory organelles that detect biliary nucleotides via P2Y12 purinergic receptors

Anatoliy I. Masyuk, Sergio A. Gradilone, Jesus M. Banales, Bing Q. Huang, Tatyana V. Masyuk, Seung Ok Lee, Patrick L. Splinter, Angela J. Stroope, Nicholas F. LaRusso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


Cholangiocytes, the epithelial cells lining intrahepatic bile ducts, contain primary cilia, which are mechano- and osmosensory organelles detecting changes in bile flow and osmolality and transducing them into intracellular signals. Here, we asked whether cholangiocyte cilia are chemosensory organelles by testing the expression of P2Y purinergic receptors and components of the cAMP signaling cascade in cilia and their involvement in nucleotide-induced cAMP signaling in the cells. We found that P2Y12 purinergic receptor, adenylyl cyclases (i.e., AC4, AC6, and AC8), and protein kinase A (i.e., PKA RI-β and PKA RII-α regulatory subunits), exchange protein directly activated by cAMP (EPAC) isoform 2, and A-kinase anchoring proteins (i.e., AKAP150) are expressed in cholangiocyte cilia. ADP, an endogenous agonist of P2Y12 receptors, perfused through the lumen of isolated rat intrahepatic bile ducts or applied to the ciliated apical surface of normal rat cholangiocytes (NRCs) in culture induced a 1.9- and 1.5-fold decrease of forskolin-induced cAMP levels, respectively. In NRCs, the forskolin-induced cAMP increase was also lowered by 1.3-fold in response to ATP-γS, a nonhydrolyzed analog of ATP but was not affected by UTP. The ADP-induced changes in cAMP levels in cholangiocytes were abolished by chloral hydrate (a reagent that removes cilia) and by P2Y12 siRNAs, suggesting that cilia and ciliary P2Y12 are involved in nucleotide-induced cAMP signaling. In conclusion, cholangiocyte cilia are chemosensory organelles that detect biliary nucleotides through ciliary P2Y12 receptors and transduce corresponding signals into a cAMP response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G725-G734
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2008


  • A-kinase anchoring protein 150
  • ADP
  • Adenylyl cyclases
  • Exchange protein directly activated by cAMP
  • Liver
  • Protein kinase A
  • cAMP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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