Subcellular localization of human voltage-dependent anion channel isoforms

Wei Hong Yu, William Wolfgang, Michael Forte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


The voltage-dependent anion channel of the outer mitochondrial membrane, VDAC (also known as mitochondrial porin), is a small abundant protein which forms a voltage-gated pore when incorporated into planar lipid bilayers. This protein forms the primary pathway for movement of major metabolites through the outer membrane. Recently, it has been demonstrated that two human VDAC genes, HVDAC1 and HVDAC2, produce three proteins that differ most significantly at their amino termini. These results suggest that the distinct amino termini lead to the targeting of individual VDAC isoforms to different cellular compartments. Consistent with this hypothesis, recent reports suggest that HVDAC1 is found in the plasma membrane of mammalian cells. To define the subcellular location of HVDAC isoforms, HVDAC genes were modified so that the encoded proteins contain COOH-terminal epitopes recognized by either of two monoclonal antibodies. Introduction of these epitope tags had no effect on the function of modified VDAC proteins. Epitope-tagged proteins were then individually expressed in COS7 cells or rat astrocytes and the intracellular location of each isoform subsequently identified by subcellular fractionation, light level immunofluorescence, and immunoelectron microscopy. Our results demonstrate that each HVDAC protein is exclusively located in fractions or subcellular regions containing mitochondrial marker proteins. In addition, immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy show that an individual mitochondrion can contain both HVDAC1 and HVDAC2. Our results call into question previous reports demonstrating VDAC molecules in the plasma membrane and suggest that functional differences between individual VDAC isoforms may result in distinct regulatory processes within a single mitochondrion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13998-14006
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 9 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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