Role of membranes in bile formation: comparison of the composition of bile and a liver bile canalicular plasma membrane subfraction

W. H. Evans, T. Kremmer, J. G. Culvenor

Research output: Article

53 Citations (Scopus)


Enzymes, proteins, glycoproteins and lipids of rodent bile were compared with those of a plasma membrane subfraction originating from the hepatocyte bile canalicular membrane. Three bile canalicular glycoprotein enzyme activities were detected in bile. Comparison of the pH optimum and immunoinhibition properties of membrane and bile 5' nucleotidase activity indicated that they were the same enzyme. Correspondence between membrane and bile alkaline phosphodiesterases also suggested that they were the same enzyme. Activities of Mg2+ stimulated adenosine triphosphatase, a lipid dependent intrinsic membrane protein, and galactosyltransferase, a Golgi membrane marker, were not detected in bile. Rodent bile contained 15 polypeptide bands that differed radically from those of bile canalicular membranes. Bands that may correspond in molecular weight to liver plasma membrane glycoproteins were present at low staining intensities in bile. A major protein of apparent molecular weight 49,500 was present, and albumin was detected by immunodiffusion. The lipid composition of bile and bile canalicular membrane also differed. Phosphatidylcholine accounted for 82% of rat bile phospholipids, and only trace amounts of phosphatidylinositol, phosphatidylserine and sphingomyelin were present. The results indicate that in healthy animals, the bile canalicular membrane is refractory to the action of bile acids during the secretory process. The presence of only small amounts of bile canalicular membrane components, especially glycoprotein enzymes located at the outer face of the membrane, suggests that these are released from the membrane by bile acids after secretion of bile into the canalicular spaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-595
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1976

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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