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FASEB J. 1998 Apr;12(6):495-502.

Double-stranded DNA can be translocated across a planar membrane containing purified mitochondrial porin.

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CNR Unit for Biomembranes, Department Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova, Italy.


The transport of genetic material across biomembranes is a process of great relevance for several fields of study. However, much remains to be learned about the mechanisms underlying transport, one of which implies the involvement of proteic DNA-conducting pores. Entry of genetic material into mitochondria has been observed under both physiological and pathological conditions. We report here that double-stranded DNA can move through a planar bilayer membrane containing isolated mitochondrial porin (voltage-dependent anion channel). The transport is driven by the applied electrical field, and the presence of DNA is associated with a decrease of current conduction by the pores. The passage of DNA does not take place if the bilayer has not been doped with any protein or in the presence of both reconstituted porin and anti-porin antibody. Translocation does not occur if the bilayer contains Shigella sonnei maltoporin, gramicidin A channels, or a 30 pS anion-selective channel plus other proteins. These results show that mitochondrial porin is capable of mediating the transport of genetic material, revealing a new property of this molecule and further confirming the idea that DNA can move through proteic pores.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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