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J Proteome Res. 2006 Dec;5(12):3336-44.

VDAC1, having a shorter N-terminus than VDAC2 but showing the same migration in an SDS-polyacrylamide gel, is the predominant form expressed in mitochondria of various tissues.

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Institute for Genome Research, University of Tokushima, Kuramotocho-3, Tokushima 770-8503, Japan.


The voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC) is a pore-forming protein expressed in the outer membrane of eukaryotic mitochondria. Three isoforms of it, i.e., VDAC1, VDAC2, and VDAC3, are known to be expressed in mammals; however, the question as to which is the main isoform in mitochondria is still unanswered. To address this question, we first prepared standard VDACs by using a bacterial expression system and raised various antibodies against them by using synthetic peptides as immunogens. Of the three bacterially expressed VDAC isoforms, VDAC3 showed faster migration in SDS-polyacrylamide gels than VDAC1 and VDAC2, although VDAC2 is longer than VDAC1 and VDAC3, due to a 12-amino acid extension of its N-terminal region. Even with careful structural characterization of the expressed VDACs by LC-MS/MS analysis, serious structural modifications of VDACs causing changes in their migration in SDS-polyacrylamide gels were not detected. Next, immunoreactivities of the raised antibodies toward these bacterially expressed VDAC isoforms were evaluated. Trials to prepare specific antibodies against the three individual VDAC isoforms were not successful except in the case of VDAC1. However, using a synthetic peptide corresponding to the highly conserved region among the three VDACs, we were successful in preparing an antibody showing essentially equal immunoreactivities toward all three VDACs. When mitochondrial outer membrane proteins of various rat tissues were subjected to 2-dimensional electrophoresis followed by immunoblotting with this antibody, six immunoreactive protein spots were detected. These spots were characterized by LC-MS/MS analysis, and the signal intensities among the spots were compared. As a result, the signal intensity of the spot representing VDAC1 was the highest, and thus, VDAC1 was concluded to be the most abundantly expressed of the three VDAC isoforms in mammalian mitochondria.

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