Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 329–340 | Cite as

Electron microscopy and image analysis of the mitochondrial outer membrane channel, VDAC

  • Carmen A. Mannella


The channel protein in the outer membrane ofNeurospora crassa mitochondria, VDAC, forms extended planar crystals on the membrane. The arrays, which are induced by phospholipase A2, are polymorphic, varying from parallelogram (P) to near-rectangular (R) geometry with increased phospholipase treatment. Computer-based analysis of projection images of negatively stained VDAC arrays indicates that the protein forms a transmembrane channel in the P array. Comparison of average images of arrays embedded in different negative stains suggests that the bore of the channel is 2–2.5 nm. The locations of functionally important lysine clusters on VDAC are inferred from the effects of succinylation on projection images of arrays negatively stained with phosphotungstate. Projection images of unstained frozen-hydrated arrays indicate the general shape of the channel and suggest each channel is formed by one 31-kDa VDAC polypeptide.

Key Words

Mitochondrial outer membrane channel electron microscopy image processing negative stain frozen-hydrated succinic anhydride 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carmen A. Mannella
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Wadsworth Center for Laboratories and ResearchNew York State Department of HealthAlbany
  2. 2.School of Public Health SciencesState University of New York at AlbanyAlbany

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