Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 179–186

Glutamate Interacts with VDAC and Modulates Opening of the Mitochondrial Permeability Transition Pore

  • Dan Gincel
  • Varda Shoshan-Barmatz

DOI: 10.1023/B:JOBB.0000023621.72873.9e

Cite this article as:
Gincel, D. & Shoshan-Barmatz, V. J Bioenerg Biomembr (2004) 36: 179. doi:10.1023/B:JOBB.0000023621.72873.9e


The amino acid glutamate, synthesized in the mitochondria, serves multiple functions, including acting as a neurotransmitter and participating in degradative and synthetic pathways. We have previously shown that glutamate modulates the channel activity of bilayer-reconstituted voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC). In this study, we demonstrate that glutamate also modulates the opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (PTP), of which VDAC is an essential component. Glutamate inhibited PTP opening, as monitored by transient Ca2+ accumulation, mitochondrial swelling and accompanying release of cytochrome c. Exposure to L-glutamate delayed the onset of PTP opening up to 3-times longer, with an IC50 of 0.5 mM. Inhibition of PTP opening by L-glutamate is highly specific, not being mimicked by D-glutamate, L-glutamine, L-aspartate, or L-asparagine. The interaction of L-glutamate with VDAC and its inhibition of VDAC's channel activity and PTP opening suggest that glutamate may also act as an intracellular messenger in the mitochondria-mediated apoptotic pathway.

Glutamatemitochondriapermeability transition poreporinVDAC

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dan Gincel
    • 1
  • Varda Shoshan-Barmatz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Life SciencesBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer-ShevaIsrael