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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2003 Sep 23;1642(1-2):87-96.

VDAC is a conserved element of death pathways in plant and animal systems.

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National Centre for Biological Sciences, TIFR, UAS-GKVK Campus, Bangalore 560 065, India.


Programmed cell death (PCD) is very much a part of plant life, although the underlying mechanisms are not so well understood as in animals. In animal cells, the voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC), a major mitochondrial outer membrane transporter, plays an important role in apoptosis by participating in the release of intermembrane space proteins. To characterize plant PCD pathways by investigating the function of putative components in a mammalian apoptotic context, we have overexpressed a rice VDAC (osVDAC4) in the Jurkat T-cell line. Overexpression of osVDAC4 induces apoptosis, which can be blocked by Bcl-2 and the VDAC inhibitor DIDS. Modifying endogenous VDAC function by DIDS and hexokinase II (HxKII) in Jurkat cells inhibits mitochondria-mediated apoptotic pathways. Finally, we show that DIDS also abrogates heat-induced PCD in cucumber cotyledons. Our data suggest that VDAC is a conserved mitochondrial element of the death machinery in both plant and animal cells.

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