, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 279-292

The voltage-dependent anion channel

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Recently, it has been recognized that there is a metabolic coupling between the cytosol and mitochondria, where the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM), the boundary between these compartments, has important functions. In this crosstalk, mitochodrial Ca2+ homeostasis and ATP production and supply play a major role. The primary transporter of ions and metabolites across the OMM is the voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC). The interaction of VDAC with Ca2+, ATP glutamate, NADH, and different proteins was demonstrated, and these interactions may regulate OMM permeability. This review includes information on VDAC purification methods, characterization of its channel activity (selectivity, voltage-dependence, conductance), and the regulation of VDAC channel by ligands, such as Ca2+, glutamate and ATP and touches on many aspects of the physiological relevance of VDAC to Ca2+ homeostasis and mitochondria-mediated apoptosis.