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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2005 Feb;37(2):277-82.

Voltage-dependent anion-selective channel 1 (VDAC1)--a mitochondrial protein, rediscovered as a novel enzyme in the plasma membrane.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Biomedical Sciences, Monash University, Building 13D, 100 Wellington Road, Melbourne, Vic. 3800, Australia.


The eukaryotic porin or voltage-dependent anion-selective channel (VDAC1) is a pore-forming protein discovered twenty five years ago in the mitochondrial outer membrane. Its gene in eukaryotes is known, but its tertiary structure has never been solved. Structure predictions highlight the presence of several amphipathic beta-strands possibly organised in a beta-barrel. VDAC1 has recently been described as being a NADH:ferricyanide reductase in the plasma membrane. There it affects the regulation of cell growth and death. Physiological cell death (apoptosis) has become a major research focus of biomedical research. Regulation of the enzyme will have impacts on cancer and autoimmune diseases (insufficient apoptosis) as well as neurodegenerative diseases (excessive apoptosis). VDAC1 in the plasma membrane establishes a novel level of apoptosis regulation putatively via its redox activity.

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