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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2006 Aug;1758(8):1018-24. Epub 2006 Jul 21.

Water permeability of rat liver mitochondria: A biophysical study.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Fisiologia Generale ed Ambientale and Centro di Eccellenza di Genomica in campo Biomedico ed Agrario (CEGBA), Universit√† degli Studi di Bari, Via Amendola 165/A, 70126 Bari, Italy. calamita@biologia.uniba.it

Abstract

The movement of water accompanying solutes between the cytoplasm and the mitochondrial spaces is central for mitochondrial volume homeostasis, an important function for mitochondrial activities and for preventing the deleterious effects of excess matrix swelling or contraction. While the discovery of aquaporin water channels in the inner mitochondrial membrane provided valuable insights into the basis of mitochondrial plasticity, questions regarding the identity of mitochondrial water permeability and its regulatory mechanism remain open. Here, we use a stopped flow light scattering approach to define the water permeability and Arrhenius activation energy of the rat liver whole intact mitochondrion and its membrane subcompartments. The water permeabilities of whole brain and testis mitochondria as well as liposome models of the lipid bilayer composing the liver inner mitochondrial membrane are also characterized. Besides finding remarkably high water permeabilities for both mitochondria and their membrane subcompartments, the existence of additional pathways of water movement other than aquaporins are suggested.

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