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J Bioenerg Biomembr. 1989 Aug;21(4):451-9.

Properties of channels in the mitochondrial outer membrane.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, State University of New York, Albany 12222.


Patch-clamping studies with native outer mitochondrial membranes show a complex behavior. In the range of potentials in which the polarity of the pipette is positive, the behavior resembles that of VDAC incorporated into bilayers. Accordingly, there is a decrease in conductance with voltage. An involvement of VDAC is also supported by responses of the patches to the presence of polyanion or treatment with succinic anhydride, both of which affect VDAC. In contrast, in the negative range of potential, the conductance of the patches generally increases with the magnitude of the voltage. The increase in conductance shows a biphasic time course which is consistent with a model in which channels are first activated (first phase) and then assembled into larger high-conductance channels (second phase). A variety of experiments support the notion that an assembly takes place. The time course of the conductance increase is consistent with formation of the second-phase channels from 6 +/- 1 subunits.

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