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Mol Genet Genomics. 2002 Aug;267(6):746-56. Epub 2002 Jul 23.

A genetic analysis of the porin gene encoding a voltage-dependent anion channel protein in Drosophila melanogaster.

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Dipartimento di Anatomia Patologica e di Genetica, Sezione di Genetica, Università di Bari, Via Amendola 165/A, 70126 Bari, Italy.


The voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC, also known as porin) is an abundant protein in the outer mitochondrial membrane that forms transmembrane channels permeable to solutes. While in mammals at least three different porin genes have been found, only one VDAC-encoding gene, porin, has been described so far in Drosophila melanogaster. It produces transcripts with alternative untranslated sequences. Here we report the identification of two PlacW insertions in the porin gene among a set of P-element insertions that have been mapped to the 32B3-4 region on the second chromosome. Homozygotes, as well as trans-heterozygotes for these insertions, lack VDAC, and die during the late pupal stage. Function can be restored by precise excision of the P transposon, while most deletions in the porin locus, produced by imprecise excisions, display the recessive lethal effect of the original mutant alleles. However, one of the deletions was found to be a hypomorphic male-sterile allele producing low levels of the VDAC protein, indicating that the product of the porin gene is also essential for male fertility. Analysis of the new mutant alleles also showed that the untranslated exon 1B of the porin gene is not required for VDAC synthesis. In the course of our investigation, we found that immediately adjacent to the porin gene are three more genes encoding proteins that share homology with the VDAC protein. The possible evolutionary and functional relationships of the porin-like genes at 32B3-4 are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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