Vesicular exocytosis contributes to volume-sensitive ATP release in biliary cells

David Gatof, Gordan Kilic, J. Gregory Fitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Extracellular ATP is a potent autocrine/paracrine signal that regulates a broad range of liver functions through activation of purinergic receptors. In biliary epithelium, increases in cell volume stimulate ATP release through a phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3-kinase)-dependent mechanism. Because PI3-kinase also regulates vesicular exocytosis, the purpose of these studies was to determine whether volume-stimulated vesicular exocytosis contributes to cellular ATP release. In a human cholangiocarcinoma cell line, exocytosis was measured by using the plasma membrane marker FM1-43, whereas ATP release was assessed by using a luciferase-luciferin assay. Under basal conditions, cholangiocytes exhibited constitutive exocytosis at a rate of 1.6%/min, and low levels of extracellular ATP were detected at 48.2 arbitrary light units. Increases in cholangiocyte cell volume induced by hypotonic exposure resulted in a 10-fold increase in the rate of exocytosis and a robust 35-fold increase in ATP release. Both vesicular exocytosis and ATP release were proportional to cell volume, and both exhibited similar regulatory properties including: 1) dependence on intact PI3-kinase, 2) attenuation by inhibition of PKC, and 3) potentiation by activation of PKC before hypotonic exposure. These findings demonstrate that increases in cholangiocyte cell volume stimulate ATP release and vesicular exocytosis through similar regulatory paradigms. Functional interactions among cell volume, PKC, and PI3-kinase modulate exocytosis, thereby regulating ATP release and purinergic signaling in cholangiocytes. It is hypothesized that PKC is involved in the recruitment of a volume-sensitive vesicular pool to a readily releasable state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G538-G546
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number4 49-4
StatePublished - Apr 2004


  • Cell volume
  • Cholangiocyte
  • FM1-43
  • Phosphoinositide 3-kinase
  • Purinergic signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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