1.B.8 The Mitochondrial and Plastid Porin (MPP) Family
Porins of the MPP family are found in eukaryotic organelles. The organelles include mitochondria of many eukaryotes as well as chloroplasts and plastids of plants. The best characterized members of the MPP family are the voltage-dependent anion-selective channel (VDAC) porins in the mitochondrial outer membrane. These porins have an estimated channel diameter of 2.5-3 nm. Topological models have been proposed in which VDAC consists of an N-terminal, globular α-helix and (1) 12 or 13 β-strands or (2) 16 β-strands (Casadio et al., 2002). VDAC also appears to be present in plasma membranes (De Pinto et al., 2010). Prostacyclin receptor-mediated ATP release from ethrocytes requires VDAC (Sridharan et al., 2011). Phylogenetic analyses of eukaryotic VDAC proteins from diverse organisms have been reported (Wojtkowska et al. 2012).
A murine VDAC, VDAC-1, exhibits more than one topological type due to the use of alternative first exons. Thus, two different porins, differing only with respect to their N-termini, have been identified. One porin isoform (plasmalemmal VDAC-1) has a hydrophobic leader peptide that targets the protein through the golgi apparatus to the plasma membrane; the other isoform (mitochondrial VDAC-1) is translocated to the outer mitochondrial membrane because it lacks the N-terminal hydrophobic leader. The former is believed to account for the plasma membrane Maxi (large conductance) Cl- channel (Bahamonde et al., 2003).
VDACs play a role in forming the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (PTP) which is important for Ca2+ homeostasis and programmed cell death. PTP is triggered by Ca2+ influx into mitochondria, and VDAC is permeable to Ca2+. It is also regulated by various compounds such as glutamate, NADH and nucleotides. VDAC has two nucleotide binding sites (Yehezkel et al., 2006). In VDAC1 the two cysteine residues seem not to be required for apoptosis or VDAC1 oligomerization (Aram et al., 2010).
Mutations in superoxide dismutase (SOD1) cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease characterized by loss of motor neurons. Misfolded mutant SOD1 binds directly to VDAC1. Direct binding of mutant SOD1 to VDAC1 inhibits conductance of channels when reconstituted in a lipid bilayer (Israelson et al., 2010).
Persistent opening of PTP creates a bioenergetic crisis with collapse of the membrane potential, ATP depletion, Ca2+ deregulation, and release of proteins such as cytochrome c into the cytoplasm. These events promote cell death. The PTP traverses the inner and outer membranes and involves the ATP/ADP exchanger in the inner membrane and VDAC in the other membrane (Cesura et al., 2003). Another postulate suggests that a calcium-triggered conformational change of the mitochondrial phosphate carrier (PiC), facilitated by cyclophilin-D (CyP-D), induces pore opening. This is enhanced by an association of the PiC with the 'c' conformation of the ANT. Agents that modulate pore opening may act on either or both the PiC and the ANT (Leung and Halestrap, 2008).
The selective anti-tumour agent erastin causes the appearance of oxidative species and subsequent death through an oxidative, non-apoptotic mechanism. RNA-interference-mediated knockdown of VDAC2 or VDAC3 caused resistance to erastin. Using purified mitochondria expressing a single VDAC isoform, erastin alters the permeability of the outer mitochondrial membrane by binding directly to VDAC2. Thus, ligands to VDAC proteins can induce non-apoptotic cell death selectively in some tumour cells harbouring activating mutations in the RAS-RAF-MEK pathway (Yagoda et al., 2007).
It forms a 19-stranded beta barrel with the first and last strand parallel. The hydrophobic outside perimeter of the barrel is covered by detergent molecules in a beltlike fashion (Hiller et al., 2010). In the presence of cholesterol, recombinant VDAC-1 can form voltage-gated channels in phospholipid bilayers similar to those of the native protein. The NMR measurements revealed the binding sites of VDAC-1 for the Bcl-2 protein, Bcl-x(L), for reduced beta-nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, and for cholesterol. Bcl-x(L) interacts with the VDAC barrel laterally at strands 17 and 18 (Hiller et al., 2008). The position of the voltage-sensing N-terminal segment is oriented against the interior wall, causing a partial narrowing at the center of the pore. This segment is ideally positioned to regulate the conductance of ions and metabolites passing through the VDAC pore (Ujwal et al., 2008).
The generalized transport reaction catalyzed by VDACs is:
(Anionic) metabolites (out) ↔ anionic metabolites (intermembrane space)