Send to

Choose Destination
J Biol Chem. 2005 Apr 29;280(17):17149-53. Epub 2005 Mar 4.

The inner mitochondrial membrane has aquaporin-8 water channels and is highly permeable to water.

Author information

Dipartimento di Fisiologia Generale ed Ambientale and Dipartimento di Zoologia, Laboratorio di Istologia e di Anatomia Comparata, Università degli Studi di Bari, 70126 Bari, Italy.


Mitochondria are remarkably plastic organelles constantly changing their shape to fulfil their various functional activities. Although the osmotic movement of water into and out of the mitochondrion is central for its morphology and activity, the molecular mechanisms and the pathways for water transport across the inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM), the main barrier for molecules moving into and out of the organelle, are completely unknown. Here, we show the presence of a member of the aquaporin family of water channels, AQP8, and demonstrate the strikingly high water permeability (Pf) characterizing the rat liver IMM. Immunoblotting, electron microscopy, and biophysical studies show that the largest mitochondria feature the highest AQP8 expression and IMM Pf. AQP8 was also found in the mitochondria of other organs, whereas no other known aquaporins were seen. The osmotic water transport of liver IMM was partially inhibited by the aquaporin blocker Hg2+, while the related activation energy remained low, suggesting the presence of a Hg2+-insensitive facilitated pathway in addition to AQP8. It is suggested that AQP8-mediated water transport may be particularly important for rapid expansions of mitochondrial volume such as those occurring during active oxidative phosphorylation and those following apoptotic signals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center