Mitochondrial porin links protein biogenesis to metabolism

  • Kim Nguyen Doan
  • Lars Ellenrieder
  • Thomas BeckerEmail author


In this report, we summarize recent findings about a role of the outer membrane metabolite channel VDAC/porin in protein import into mitochondria. Mitochondria fulfill key functions for cellular energy metabolism. Their biogenesis involves the import of about 1000 different proteins that are produced as precursors on cytosolic ribosomes. The translocase of the outer membrane (TOM complex) forms the entry gate for mitochondrial precursor proteins. Dedicated protein translocases sort the preproteins into the different mitochondrial subcompartments. While protein transport pathways are analyzed to some detail, only little is known about regulatory mechanisms that fine-tune protein import upon metabolic signaling. Recently, a dual role of the voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC), also termed porin, in mitochondrial protein biogenesis was reported. First, VDAC/porin promotes as a coupling factor import of carrier proteins into the inner membrane. Second, VDAC/porin regulates the formation of the TOM complex. Thus, the major metabolite channel in the outer membrane VDAC/porin connects protein import to mitochondrial metabolism.


Mitochondria TOM complex VDAC Protein import 



The work was supported by grants of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (BE 4679/2–2), Research Training Group 278002225/RTG 2202 and Germany’s Excellence Strategy (CIBSS-EXC-2189—Project ID 390939984). Work included in this study has also been performed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the doctoral thesis of K.N.D. at the University of Freiburg.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, ZBMZ, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  2. 2.Faculty of BiologyUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  3. 3.CIBSS Centre for Integrative Biological Signalling StudiesUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  4. 4.Kelly Services AG Providing Services To Novartis Pharma AGBaselSwitzerland

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