Send to

Choose Destination
Elife. 2017 Feb 10;6. pii: e23781. doi: 10.7554/eLife.23781.

Atomistic simulations indicate the c-subunit ring of the F1Fo ATP synthase is not the mitochondrial permeability transition pore.

Author information

Theoretical Molecular Biophysics Section, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, United States.


Pathological metabolic conditions such as ischemia induce the rupture of the mitochondrial envelope and the release of pro-apoptotic proteins, leading to cell death. At the onset of this process, the inner mitochondrial membrane becomes depolarized and permeable to osmolytes, proposedly due to the opening of a non-selective protein channel of unknown molecular identity. A recent study purports that this channel, referred to as Mitochondrial Permeability Transition Pore (MPTP), is formed within the c-subunit ring of the ATP synthase, upon its dissociation from the catalytic domain of the enzyme. Here, we examine this claim for two c-rings of different lumen width, through calculations of their ion conductance and selectivity based on all-atom molecular dynamics simulations. We also quantify the likelihood that the lumen of these c-rings is in a hydrated, potentially conducting state rather than empty or blocked by lipid molecules. These calculations demonstrate that the structure and biophysical properties of a correctly assembled c-ring are inconsistent with those attributed to the MPTP.


apoptosis; bioenergetics; biophysics; ion channels; mitochondria; molecular dynamics; none; structural biology

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for eLife Sciences Publications, Ltd Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center