The voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC, also known as mitochondrial porin) is the major transport channel mediating the transport of metabolites, including ATP, across the mitochondrial outer membrane. Biochemical data demonstrate the binding of the cytosolic protein hexokinase-I to VDAC, facilitating the direct access of hexokinase-I to the transported ATP. In human cells, three hVDAC isoforms have been identified. However, little is known on the distribution of these isoforms within the outer membrane of mitochondria and to what extent they colocalize with hexokinase-I. In this study we show that whereas hVDAC1 and hVDAC2 are localized predominantly within the same distinct domains in the outer membrane, hVDAC3 is mostly uniformly distributed over the surface of the mitochondrion. We used two-color stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy enabling a lateral resolution of ~40 nm to determine the detailed sub-mitochondrial distribution of the three hVDAC isoforms and hexokinase-I. Individual hVDAC and hexokinase-I clusters could thus be resolved which were concealed in the confocal images. Quantitative colocalization analysis of two-color STED images demonstrates that within the attained resolution, hexokinase-I and hVDAC3 exhibit a higher degree of colocalization than hexokinase-I with either hVDAC1 or hVDAC2. Furthermore, a substantial fraction of the mitochondria-bound hexokinase-I pool does not colocalize with any of the three hVDAC isoforms, suggesting a more complex interplay of these proteins than previously anticipated. This study demonstrates that two-color STED microscopy in conjunction with quantitative colocalization analysis is a powerful tool to study the complex distribution of membrane proteins in organelles such as mitochondria.
PACS: 87.16.Tb, 87.85.Rs
Voltage-dependent anion channels (VDACs) are critical regulators of outer mitochondrial membrane permeability in eukaryotic cells. VDACs have also been postulated to regulate cell death mechanisms. Erastin, a small molecule quinazolinone that is selectively lethal to tumor cells expressing mutant RAS, has previously been reported as a ligand for hVDAC2. While significant efforts have been made to elucidate the structure and function of hVDAC1, structural and functional characterization of hVDAC2 remains lacking. Here, we present an in vitro system that provides a platform for both functional and structural investigation of hVDAC2 and its small molecule modulator, erastin. Using this system, we found that erastin increases permeability of VDAC2 liposomes to NADH in a manner that requires the amino-terminal region of VDAC2. Furthermore, we confirmed that this VDAC2-lipsome sample is folded using solid-state NMR.
Voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC) is an abundant mitochondrial outer membrane protein. In mammals, three VDAC isoforms have been characterized. We have previously reported alterations in the function of mitochondria when assessed in situ in different muscle types in VDAC1 deficient mice (Anflous, K., Armstrong, D., Craigen, W.J., 2001, J. Biol. Chem. 276, 1954-1960). In the present report we extend the study to VDAC3 deficient muscles and measure the respiratory enzyme activity in both VDAC1 and VDAC3 deficient muscles. While in the heart the absence of VDAC3 causes a decrease in the apparent affinity of in situ mitochondria for ADP, in the gastrocnemius, a mixed glycolytic/oxidative muscle, the affinity of in situ mitochondria for ADP remains unchanged. The absence of VDAC1 causes multiple defects in respiratory complex activities in both types of muscle. However, in VDAC3 deficient mice the defect is restricted to the heart and only to complex IV. These functional alterations correlate with structural aberrations of mitochondria. These results demonstrate that, unlike VDAC1, there is muscle-type specificity for VDAC3 function and therefore in vivo these two isoforms may fulfill different physiologic functions.
mitochondrial outer membrane; VDAC; ADP; mitochondrial inner membrane
The voltage dependent anion channel (VDAC) is an essential protein in the eukaryotic outer mitochondrial membrane, providing the pore for substrate diffusion. Three high-resolution structures of the isoform 1 of VDAC in detergent micelles and bicelles have recently been published, using solution NMR and X-ray crystallography. They resolve longstanding discussions about the membrane topology of VDAC and provide the first eukaryotic β-barrel membrane protein structure. The structure contains a surprising feature that had not been observed in an integral membrane protein before: A parallel β-strand pairing and thus an odd number of strands. The studies also give a structural and functional basis for the voltage gating mechanism of VDAC and its modulation by NADH, however they do not fully explain these functions yet. With the de novo structure of VDAC-1, as well as those of half a dozen other proteins, the number of integral membrane protein structures solved by solution NMR has doubled in the past two years. Numerous further structural and functional studies on many different membrane proteins show that solution NMR has become an important tool for membrane protein molecular biology.
Biophysical studies of membrane proteins are often impeded by the requirement for a membrane mimicking environment. Detergent micelles are the most common choice, but the denaturing properties make them unsatisfactory for studies of many membrane proteins and their interactions. In the present work, we explore phospholipid bilayer nanodiscs as membrane mimics and employ electron microscopy and solution NMR spectroscopy to characterize the structure and function of the human voltage dependent anion channel (VDAC-1) as an example of a polytopic integral membrane protein. Electron microscopy reveals the formation of VDAC-1 multimers, an observation that is consistent with results obtained in native mitochondrial outer membranes. High-resolution NMR spectroscopy demonstrates a well folded VDAC-1 protein and native NADH binding functionality. The observed chemical shift changes upon addition of the native ligand NADH to nanodisc-embedded VDAC-1 resemble those of micelle-embedded VDAC-1, indicating a similar structure and function in the two membrane-mimicking environments. Overall, the ability to study integral membrane proteins at atomic resolution with solution NMR in phospholipid bilayers, rather than in detergent micelles, offers exciting novel possibilities to approach the biophysical properties of membrane proteins under non-denaturing conditions, which makes this technology particular suitable for protein–protein interactions and other functional studies.
The voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC), a major outer mitochondrial membrane protein, is thought to play an important role in energy production and apoptotic cell death in mammalian systems. However, the function of VDACs in plants is largely unknown. In order to determine the individual function of plant VDACs, molecular and genetic analysis was performed on four VDAC genes, VDAC1–VDAC4, found in Arabidopsis thaliana. VDAC1 and VDAC3 possess the eukaryotic mitochondrial porin signature (MPS) in their C-termini, while VDAC2 and VDAC4 do not. Localization analysis of VDAC–green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusions and their chimeric or mutated derivatives revealed that the MPS sequence is important for mitochondrial localization. Through the functional analysis of vdac knockout mutants due to T-DNA insertion, VDAC2 and VDAC4 which are expressed in the whole plant body are important for various physiological functions such as leaf development, the steady state of the mitochondrial membrane potential, and pollen development. Moreover, it was demonstrated that VDAC1 is not only necessary for normal growth but also important for disease resistance through regulation of hydrogen peroxide generation.
Arabidopsis thaliana; defence response; mitochondrial porin signature; mitochondrial membrane potential; pollen germination; voltage-dependent anion channel
Voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC) is mainly located in the mitochondrial outer membrane and participates in many biological processes. In mammals, three VDAC subtypes (VDAC1, 2 and 3) have been identified. Although VDAC has been extensively studied in various tissues and cells, there is little knowledge about the distribution and function of VDAC in male mammalian reproductive system. Several studies have demonstrated that VDAC exists in mammalian spermatozoa and is implicated in spermatogenesis, sperm maturation, motility and fertilization. However, there is no knowledge about the respective localization and function of three VDAC subtypes in human spermatozoa. In this study, we focused on the presence of VDAC2 in human spermatozoa and its possible role in the acrosomal integrity and acrosome reaction using specific anti-VDAC2 monoclonal antibody for the first time. The results exhibited that native VDAC2 existed in the membrane components of human spermatozoa. The co-incubation of spermatozoa with anti-VDAC2 antibody did not affect the acrosomal integrity and acrosome reaction, but inhibited ionophore A23187-induced intracellular Ca2+ increase. Our study suggested that VDAC2 was located in the acrosomal membrane or plasma membrane of human spermatozoa, and played putative roles in sperm functions through mediating Ca2+ transmembrane transport.
Bcl-2 family proteins are essential regulators of cell death and exert their primary pro- or anti-apoptotic roles at the mitochondrial outer membrane. Previously, pro- and anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins have been shown to interact with the voltage dependent anion channel (VDAC) of the outer mitochondrial membrane. VDAC is a 283-residue integral membrane protein that forms an aqueous pore in the outer mitochondrial membrane, through which metabolites and other small molecules pass between the cytosol and intermembrane space. The essential life-sustaining function of VDAC in metabolite trafficking is believed to be regulated by proteins of the Bcl-2 family. The protective role of anti-apoptotic Bcl-xL may be through its interaction with VDAC. Here, VDAC has been expressed, purified, and refolded into a functional form amenable to NMR studies. Various biophysical experiments indicate that micelle-bound VDAC is in intermediate exchange between monomer and trimer. Using NMR spectroscopy, gel filtration, and chemical cross-linking we obtained direct evidence for binding of Bcl-xL to VDAC in a detergent micelle system. The VDAC-interacting region of Bcl-xL was characterized by NMR with chemical shift perturbation and transferred cross saturation. The interaction region was mapped to a putative helical hairpin motif of Bcl-xL that was found to insert into detergent micelles. Our results suggest that Bcl-xL can bind to 1 or 2 VDAC molecules forming heterodimers and heterotrimers. Our characterization of the VDAC/Bcl-xL complex offer initial structural insight into the role of anti-apoptotic Bcl-xL in regulating apoptotic events in the mitochondrial outer membrane.
VDAC; Bcl-xL; NMR; membrane protein; apoptosis
The most abundant protein of the mitochondrial outer membrane is the voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC), which facilitates the exchange of ions and molecules between mitochondria and cytosol and is regulated by interactions with other proteins and small molecules. VDAC has been extensively studied for more than three decades, and last year three independent investigations revealed a structure of VDAC-1 exhibiting 19 transmembrane β-strands, constituting a unique structural class of β-barrel membrane proteins. Here, we provide a historical perspective on VDAC research and give an overview of the experimental design used to obtain these structures. Furthermore, we validate the protein refolding approach and summarize biochemical and biophysical evidence that links the 19-stranded structure to the native form of VDAC.
The voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC) mediates trafficking of small molecules and ions across the eukaryotic outer mitochondrial membrane. VDAC also interacts with anti-apoptotic proteins from the Bcl-2 family and this interaction inhibits release of apoptogenic proteins from the mitochondrion. We present the NMR solution structure of recombinant human VDAC-1 reconstituted in detergent micelles. It forms a 19-stranded β-barrel with the first and last strand parallel. The hydrophobic outside perimeter of the barrel is covered by detergent molecules in a belt-like fashion. In the presence of cholesterol recombinant VDAC-1 can form voltage-gated channels in phospholipid bilayers similar to the native protein. NMR measurements revealed the binding sites of VDAC-1 for the Bcl-2 protein Bcl-xL, for β-NADH and for cholesterol. Bcl-xL interacts with the VDAC barrel laterally at strands 17 and 18.
The voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC) forms the major pore in the outer mitochondrial membrane. Its high conducting open state features a moderate anion selectivity. There is some evidence indicating that the electrophysiological properties of VDAC vary with the salt concentration. Using a theoretical approach the molecular basis for this concentration dependence was investigated. Molecular dynamics simulations and continuum electrostatic calculations performed on the mouse VDAC1 isoform clearly demonstrate that the distribution of fixed charges in the channel creates an electric field, which determines the anion preference of VDAC at low salt concentration. Increasing the salt concentration in the bulk results in a higher concentration of ions in the VDAC wide pore. This event induces a large electrostatic screening of the charged residues promoting a less anion selective channel. Residues that are responsible for the electrostatic pattern of the channel were identified using the molecular dynamics trajectories. Some of these residues are found to be conserved suggesting that ion permeation between different VDAC species occurs through a common mechanism. This inference is buttressed by electrophysiological experiments performed on bean VDAC32 protein akin to mouse VDAC.
The permeability of the outer mitochondrial membrane to most metabolites is believed to be based in an outer membrane, channel-forming protein known as VDAC (voltage-dependent anion channel). Although multiple isoforms of VDAC have been identified in multicellular organisms, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been thought to contain a single VDAC gene, designated POR1. However, cells missing the POR1 gene (delta por1) were able to grow on yeast media containing a nonfermentable carbon source (glycerol) but not on such media at elevated temperature (37 degrees C). If VDAC normally provides the pathway for metabolites to pass through the outer membrane, some other protein(s) must be able to partially substitute for that function. To identify proteins that could functionally substitute for POR1, we have screened a yeast genomic library for genes which, when overexpressed, can correct the growth defect of delta por1 yeast grown on glycerol at 37 degrees C. This screen identified a second yeast VDAC gene, POR2, encoding a protein (YVDAC2) with 49% amino acid sequence identity to the previously identified yeast VDAC protein (YVDAC1). YVDAC2 can functionally complement defects present in delta por1 strains only when it is overexpressed. Deletion of the POR2 gene alone had no detectable phenotype, while yeasts with deletions of both the POR1 and POR2 genes were viable and able to grow on glycerol at 30 degrees C, albeit more slowly than delta por1 single mutants. Like delta por1 single mutants, they could not grow on glycerol at 37 degrees C. Subcellular fractionation studies with antibodies which distinguish YVDAC1 and YVDAC2 indicate that YVDAC2 is normally present in the outer mitochondrial membrane. However, no YVDAC2 channels were detected electrophysiologically in reconstituted systems. Therefore, mitochondrial membranes made from wild-type cells, delta por1 cells, delta por1 delta por2 cells, and delta por1 cells overexpressing YVDAC2 were incorporated into liposomes and the permeability of resulting liposomes to nonelectrolytes of different sizes was determined. The results indicate that YVDAC2 does not confer any additional permeability to these liposomes, suggesting that it may not normally form a channel. In contrast, when the VDAC gene from Drosophila melanogaster was expressed in delta por1 yeast cells, VDAC-like channels could be detected in the mitochondria by both bilayer and liposome techniques, yet the cells failed to grow on glycerol at 37 degrees C. Thus, channel-forming activity does not seem to be either necessary or sufficient to restore growth on nonfermentable carbon sources, indicating that VDAC mediates cellular functions that do not depend on the ability to form channels.
The voltage-dependent anion channels (VDACs), known as a major group of outer mitochondrial membrane proteins, are present in all eukaryotic species. In mammalian cells, they have been established as a key player in mitochondrial metabolism and apoptosis regulation. By contrast, little is known about the function of plant VDACs. Recently, we performed functional analysis of all VDAC gene members in Arabidopsis thaliana, and revealed that each AtVDAC member has a specialized function. Especially, in spite of similar subcellular localization and expression profiling of AtVDAC2 and AtVDAC4, both the T-DNA insertion knockout mutants of them, vdac2–2 and vdac4–2, showed severe growth retardation. These results suggest that AtVDAC2 and AtVDAC4 proteins clearly have distinct functions. Here, we introduced the AtVDAC2 gene into the vdac2–2 mutant, and demonstrated that the miniature phenotype of vdac2–2 plant is abolished by AtVDAC2 expression.
Arabidopsis thaliana; AtVDAC2; AtVDAC4; mitochondrial porin signature; plant growth; voltage-dependent anion channel
Tubulin was recently found to be a uniquely potent regulator of the voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC), the most abundant channel of the mitochondrial outer membrane, which constitutes a major pathway for ATP/ADP and other metabolites across this membrane. Dimeric tubulin induces reversible blockage of VDAC reconstituted into a planar lipid membrane and dramatically reduces respiration of isolated mitochondria. Here we show that VDAC phosphorylation is an important determinant of its interaction with dimeric tubulin. We demonstrate that in vitro phosphorylation of VDAC by either glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK3β) or cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA), increases the on-rate of tubulin binding to the reconstituted channel by orders of magnitude, but only for tubulin at the cis side of the membrane. This and the fact the basic properties of VDAC, such as single-channel conductance and selectivity, remained unaltered by phosphorylation allowed us to suggest the phosphorylation regions positioned on the cytosolic loops of VDAC and establish channel orientation in our reconstitution experiments. Experiments on human hepatoma cells HepG2 support our conjecture that VDAC permeability for the mitochondrial respiratory substrates is regulated by dimeric tubulin and channel phosphorylation. Treatment of HepG2 cells with colchicine prevents microtubule polymerization, thus increasing dimeric tubulin availability in the cytosol. Accordingly, this leads to a decrease of mitochondrial potential measured by assessing mitochondrial tetramethylrhodamine methyester uptake with confocal microscopy. Inhibition of PKA activity blocks and reverses mitochondrial depolarization induced by colchicine. Our findings suggest a novel functional link between serine/threonine kinase signaling pathways, mitochondrial respiration, and the highly dynamic microtubule network which is characteristic of cancerogenesis and cell proliferation.
The voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC), a highly conserved major mitochondrial outer membrane protein, plays crucial roles in energy metabolism and metabolite transport. However, knowledge about the roles of the VDAC family in plants is limited. In this study, we investigated the expression pattern of VDAC1 in Arabidopsis and found that cold stress promoted the accumulation of VDAC1 transcripts in imbibed seeds and mature plants. Overexpression of VDAC1 reduced tolerance to cold stress in Arabidopsis. Phenotype analysis of VDAC1 T-DNA insertion mutant plants indicated that a vdac1 mutant line had faster germination kinetics under cold treatment and showed enhanced tolerance to freezing. The yeast two-hybrid system revealed that VDAC1 interacts with CBL1, a calcium sensor in plants. Like the vdac1, a cbl1 mutant also exhibited a higher seed germination rate. We conclude that both VDAC1 and CBL1 regulate cold stress responses during seed germination and plant development.
Arabidopsis; voltage-dependent anion channel; cold stress; germination; calcium; interaction protein
Extracellular ATP regulates several elements of the mucus clearance process important for pulmonary host defense. However, the mechanisms mediating ATP release onto airway surfaces remain unknown. Mitochondrial voltage-dependent anion channels (mt-VDACs) translocate a variety of metabolites, including ATP and ADP, across the mitochondrial outer membrane, and a plasmalemmal splice variant (pl-VDAC-1) has been proposed to mediate ATP translocation across the plasma membrane. We tested the involvement of VDAC-1 in ATP release in a series of studies in murine cells. First, the full-length coding sequence was cloned from a mouse airway epithelial cell line (MTE7b−) and transfected into NIH 3T3 cells, and pl-VDAC-1-transfected cells exhibited higher rates of ATP release in response to medium change compared with mock-transfected cells. Second, ATP release was compared in cells isolated from VDAC-1 knockout [VDAC-1 (−/−)] and wild-type (WT) mice. Fibroblasts from VDAC-1 (−/−) mice released less ATP than WT mice in response to a medium change. Well-differentiated cultures from nasal and tracheal epithelia of VDAC-1 (−/−) mice exhibited less ATP release in response to luminal hypotonic challenge than WT mice. Confocal microscopy studies revealed that cell volume acutely increased in airway epithelia from both VDAC-1 (−/−) and WT mice after luminal hypotonic challenge, but VDAC-1 (−/−) cells exhibited a slower regulatory volume decrease (RVD) than WT cells. Addition of ATP or apyrase to the luminal surface of VDAC-1 (−/−) or WT cultures with hypotonic challenge produced similar initial cell height responses and RVD kinetics in both cell types, suggesting that involvement of VDAC-1 in RVD is through ATP release. Taken together, these studies suggest that VDAC-1, directly or indirectly, contributes to ATP release from murine cells. However, the observation that VDAC-1 knockout cells released a significant amount of ATP suggests that other molecules also play a role in this function.
voltage-dependent anion channel; ATP release; osmotic cell swelling; regulatory volume decrease; airway epithelia
Mitochondrial metabolism depends on movement of hydrophilic metabolites through the mitochondrial outer membrane via the voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC). Here we assessed VDAC permeability of intracellular mitochondria in cultured hepatocytes after plasma membrane permeabilization with 8 μM digitonin. Blockade of VDAC with Koenig's polyanion inhibited uncoupled and ADP-stimulated respiration of permeabilized hepatocytes by 33% and 41%, respectively. Tenfold greater digitonin (80 μM) relieved KPA-induced inhibition and also released cytochrome c, signifying mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization. Acute ethanol exposure also decreased respiration and accessibility of mitochondrial adenylate kinase (AK) of permeabilized hepatocytes membranes by 40% and 32%, respectively. This inhibition was reversed by high digitonin. Outer membrane permeability was independently assessed by confocal microscopy from entrapment of 3 kDa tetramethylrhodamine-conjugated dextran (RhoDex) in mitochondria of mechanically permeabilized hepatocytes. Ethanol decreased RhoDex entrapment in mitochondria by 35% of that observed in control cells. Overall, these results demonstrate that acute ethanol exposure decreases mitochondrial outer membrane permeability most likely by inhibition of VDAC.
Adenylate kinase; Ethanol; Hepatocyte; Mitochondria; Tetramethylrhodamine-conjugated dextran; VDAC
Insertion of newly synthesized proteins into or across the mitochondrial outer membrane is initiated by import receptors at the surface of the organelle. Typically, this interaction directs the precursor protein into a preprotein translocation pore, comprised of Tom40. Here, we show that a prominent β-barrel channel protein spanning the outer membrane, human voltage- dependent anion-selective channel (VDAC), bypasses the requirement for the Tom40 translocation pore during biogenesis. Insertion of VDAC into the outer membrane is unaffected by plugging the translocation pore with a partially translocated matrix preprotein, and mitochondria containing a temperature-sensitive mutant of Tom40 insert VDAC at the nonpermissive temperature. Synthetic liposomes harboring the cytosolic domain of the human import receptor Tom20 efficiently insert newly synthesized VDAC, resulting in transbilayer transport of ATP. Therefore, Tom20 transforms newly synthesized cytosolic VDAC into a transmembrane channel that is fully integrated into the lipid bilayer.
voltage-dependent anion-selective channel; porin; Tom20; import; mitochondria
The voltage dependent anion channel (VDAC) forms a channel for metabolites and nutrients in the outer membrane of mitochondria, and it is also involved in apoptotic pathways. Here, we report sequence-specific NMR assignments for the isoform 1 of human VDAC reconstituted in lauryldimethylamine oxide (LDAO) detergent micelles. The assignments were deposited in the BMRB data base with accession number 16381.
Voltage dependent anion channel; Voltage gating; β-Barrel; Protein refolding; Membrane protein structure; Multi-dimensional decomposition (MDD); TROSY; Selective labeling; 4D-NOESYs; Non-uniform sampling (NUS)
The voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC) is the major transport protein in the outer membrane of mitochondria and plays crucial roles in energy metabolism, apoptosis, and metabolites transport. In plants, the expression of VDACs can be affected by different stresses, including drought, salinity and pathogen defense. In this study, we investigated the expression pattern of AtVDAC2 in A. thaliana and found ABA suppressed the accumulation of AtVDAC2 transcripts. Further, phenotype analysis of this VDAC deregulated-expression transgenic Arabidopsis plants indicated that AtVDAC2 anti-sense line showed an ABA-insensitivity phenotype during the early seedling development under ABA treatment. The results suggested that AtVDAC2 might be involved in ABA signaling in A. thaliana.
Arabidopsis thaliana; voltage-dependent anion channel; abscisic acid; ABA signaling
Voltage-dependent anion channels (VDACs) are expressed in three isoforms, with common channeling properties and different roles in cell survival. We show that VDAC1 silencing potentiates apoptotic challenges, whereas VDAC2 has the opposite effect. Although all three VDAC isoforms are equivalent in allowing mitochondrial Ca2+ loading upon agonist stimulation, VDAC1 silencing selectively impairs the transfer of the low-amplitude apoptotic Ca2+ signals. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments show that VDAC1, but not VDAC2 and VDAC3, forms complexes with IP3 receptors, an interaction that is further strengthened by apoptotic stimuli. These data highlight a non-redundant molecular route for transferring Ca2+ signals to mitochondria in apoptosis.
mitochondria; calcium; apoptosis; VDAC1
Voltage-dependent anion channels (VDACs) have been implicated as essential mediators of mitochondrial-dependent cell death by functioning as a channel-forming unit within the mitochondrial permeability transition (MPT) pore and the target of Bcl-2 family members. Here we report the effects of deletion of the 3 mammalian Vdac genes on mitochondrial-dependent cell death. Mitochondria from Vdac1-, Vdac3-, and Vdac1/Vdac3-null mice exhibited a Ca2+ and oxidative stress-induced MPT that was indistinguishable from wildtype mitochondria. Similarly, Ca2+ and oxidative-stress-induced MPT and cell death was unaltered or even exacerbated in fibroblasts lacking VDAC1, VDAC2, VDAC3, VDAC1/3, and VDAC1/2/3. Wildtype and Vdac-deficient mitochondria and cells also exhibited equivalent cytochrome c release, caspase cleavage, and cell death in response to Bax and Bid activation. These results indicate that VDACs are dispensable for both MPT and Bcl-2 family member-driven cell death.
Hexokinase isoforms I and II bind to mitochondrial outer membranes in large part by interacting with the outer membrane Voltage-Dependent Anion Channel (VDAC). This interaction results in a shift in the susceptibility of mitochondria to pro-apoptotic signals that are mediated through Bcl2-family proteins. The upregulation of hexokinase II expression in tumor cells is thought to provide both a metabolic benefit and an apoptosis suppressive capacity that gives the cell a growth advantage and increases its resistance to chemotherapy. However, the mechanisms responsible for the anti-apoptotic effect of hexokinase binding and its regulation remain poorly understood. We hypothesize that hexokinase competes with Bcl2 family proteins for binding to VDAC to influence the balance of pro-and anti-apoptotic proteins that control outer membrane permeabilization. Hexokinase binding to VDAC is regulated by protein kinases, notably glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)-3β and protein kinase C (PKC) -ε. In addition, there is evidence that the cholesterol content of the mitochondrial membranes may contribute to the regulation of hexokinase binding. At the same time, VDAC associated proteins are critically involved in the regulation of cholesterol uptake. A better characterization of these regulatory processes is required to elucidate the role of hexokinases in normal tissue function and to apply these insights for optimizing cancer treatment.
It was recently asserted that the voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC) serves as a global regulator, or governor, of mitochondrial function (Lemasters and Holmuhamedov, Biochim Biophys Acta 1762:181–190, 2006). Indeed, VDAC, positioned on the interface between mitochondria and the cytosol (Colombini, Mol Cell Biochem 256:107–115, 2004), is at the control point of mitochondria life and death. This large channel plays the role of a “switch” that defines in which direction mitochondria will go: to normal respiration or to suppression of mitochondria metabolism that leads to apoptosis and cell death. As the most abundant protein in the mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM), VDAC is known to be responsible for ATP/ADP exchange and for the fluxes of other metabolites across MOM. It controls them by switching between the open and “closed” states that are virtually impermeable to ATP and ADP. This control has dual importance: in maintaining normal mitochondria respiration and in triggering apoptosis when cytochrome c and other apoptogenic factors are released from the intermembrane space into the cytosol. Emerging evidence indicates that VDAC closure promotes apoptotic signals without direct involvement of VDAC in the permeability transition pore or hypothetical Bax-containing cytochrome c permeable pores. VDAC gating has been studied extensively for the last 30 years on reconstituted VDAC channels. In this review we focus exclusively on physiologically relevant regulators of VDAC gating such as endogenous cytosolic proteins and mitochondrial lipids. Closure of VDAC induced by such dissimilar cytosolic proteins as pro-apoptotic tBid and dimeric tubulin is compared to show that the involved mechanisms are rather distinct. While tBid mostly modulates VDAC voltage gating, tubulin blocks the channel with the efficiency of blockage controlled by voltage. We also discuss how characteristic mitochondrial lipids, phospatidylethanolamine and cardiolipin, could regulate VDAC gating. Overall, we demonstrate that VDAC gating is not just an observation made under artificial conditions of channel reconstitution but is a major mechanism of MOM permeability control.
Apoptosis; Mitochondria; Mitochondria outer membrane; Voltage dependent anion channel; VDAC; Channel gating; Tubulin; tBid; Cardiolipin; Lipid packing stress
Mutations in superoxide dismutase (SOD1) cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease characterized by loss of motor neurons. With conformation specific antibodies, we now demonstrate that misfolded mutant SOD1 binds directly to the voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC1), an integral membrane protein imbedded in the outer mitochondrial membrane. This interaction is found on isolated spinal cord mitochondria and can be reconstituted with purified components in vitro. ADP passage through the outer membrane is diminished in spinal mitochondria from mutant SOD1-expressing ALS rats. Direct binding of mutant SOD1 to VDAC1 inhibits conductance of individual channels when reconstituted in a lipid bilayer. Reduction of VDAC1 activity with targeted gene disruption is shown to diminish survival by accelerating onset of fatal paralysis in mice expressing the ALS-causing mutation SOD1G37R. Taken together, our results establish a direct link between misfolded mutant SOD1 and mitochondrial dysfunction in this form of inherited ALS.