Recent years have seen renewed interest in the permeability transition pore, a high conductance channel responsible for permeabilization of the inner mitochondrial membrane, a process that leads to depolarization and Ca2+ release. Transient openings may be involved in physiological Ca2+ homeostasis while long-lasting openings may trigger and/or execute cell death. In this review we specifically focus (i) on the hypothesis that the PTP forms from the F-ATP synthase and (ii) on the mechanisms through which Ca2+ can reversibly switch this energy-conserving nanomachine into an energy-dissipating device.
Keywords: Ca(2+); Channels; F-ATP synthase; Mitochondria; Permeability transition.
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