VDAC, a multi-functional mitochondrial protein as a pharmacological target

Mitochondrion. 2012 Jan;12(1):24-34. doi: 10.1016/j.mito.2011.04.001. Epub 2011 Apr 20.

Abstract

Regulation of mitochondrial physiology requires an efficient exchange of molecules between mitochondria and the cytoplasm via the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM). The voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC) lies in the OMM and forms a common pathway for the exchange of metabolites between the mitochondria and the cytosol, thus playing a crucial role in the regulation of metabolic and energetic functions of mitochondria. VDAC is also recognized to function in mitochondria-mediated apoptosis and in apoptosis regulation via interaction with anti-apoptotic proteins, namely members of Bcl-2 family, and the pro-survival protein, hexokinase, overexpressed in many cancer types. Thus, VDAC appears to be a convergence point for a variety of cell survival and cell death signals, mediated by its association with various ligands and proteins. In this article, we review mammalian VDAC, specifically focusing on VDAC1, addressing its functions in cell life and the regulation of apoptosis and its involvement in several diseases. Additionally, we provide insight into the potential of VDAC1 as a rational target for novel therapeutics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Death / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / physiology*
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / drug therapy
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Voltage-Dependent Anion Channels / metabolism*

Substances

  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Voltage-Dependent Anion Channels