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Nat Cell Biol. 2007 May;9(5):550-5. Epub 2007 Apr 8.

Voltage-dependent anion channels are dispensable for mitochondrial-dependent cell death.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.


Mitochondria are critically involved in necrotic cell death induced by Ca(2+) overload, hypoxia and oxidative damage. The mitochondrial permeability transition (MPT) pore - a protein complex that spans both the outer and inner mitochondrial membranes - is considered the mediator of this event and has been hypothesized to minimally consist of the voltage-dependent anion channel (Vdac) in the outer membrane, the adenine-nucleotide translocase (Ant) in the inner membrane and cyclophilin-D in the matrix. Here, we report the effects of deletion of the three mammalian Vdac genes on mitochondrial-dependent cell death. Mitochondria from Vdac1-, Vdac3-, and Vdac1-Vdac3-null mice exhibited a Ca(2+)- and oxidative stress-induced MPT that was indistinguishable from wild-type mitochondria. Similarly, Ca(2+)- and oxidative-stress-induced MPT and cell death was unaltered, or even exacerbated, in fibroblasts lacking Vdac1, Vdac2, Vdac3, Vdac1-Vdac3 and Vdac1-Vdac2-Vdac3. Wild-type and Vdac-deficient mitochondria and cells also exhibited equivalent cytochrome c release, caspase cleavage and cell death in response to the pro-death Bcl-2 family members Bax and Bid. These results indicate that Vdacs are dispensable for both MPT and Bcl-2 family member-driven cell death.

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