Voltage Gating of VDAC Is Regulated by Nonlamellar Lipids of Mitochondrial Membranes

Laboratory of Physical and Structural Biology and National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research, NICHD, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.
Journal of Biological Chemistry (Impact Factor: 4.57). 01/2007; 281(49):37496-506. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M602548200
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Evidence is accumulating that lipids play important roles in permeabilization of the mitochondria outer membrane (MOM) at the early stage of apoptosis. Lamellar phosphatidylcholine (PC) and nonlamellar phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) lipids are the major membrane components of the MOM. Cardiolipin (CL), the characteristic lipid from the mitochondrial inner membrane, is another nonlamellar lipid recently shown to play a role in MOM permeabilization. We investigate the effect of these three key lipids on the gating properties of the voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC), the major channel in MOM. We find that PE induces voltage asymmetry in VDAC current-voltage characteristics by promoting channel closure at cis negative applied potentials. Significant asymmetry is also induced by CL. The observed differences in VDAC behavior in PC and PE membranes cannot be explained by differences in the insertion orientation of VDAC in these membranes. Rather, it is clear that the two nonlamellar lipids affect VDAC gating. Using gramicidin A channels as a tool to probe bilayer mechanics, we show that VDAC channels are much more sensitive to the presence of CL than could be expected from the experiments with gramicidin channels. We suggest that this is due to the preferential insertion of VDAC into CL-rich domains. We propose that the specific lipid composition of the mitochondria outer membrane and/or of contact sites might influence MOM permeability by regulating VDAC gating.

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    • "Although the response of multichannel VDAC conductance to decreasing voltage (channel opening) has been extensively studied (Colombini 1989; Mangan and Colombini 1987; Rostovtseva et al. 2006; Schein et al. 1976; Teijido et al. 2014; Zizi et al. 1995, 1998), as far as we are aware full hysteresis curves have never been published. We therefore studied the conductance of multichannel membranes in response to a voltage ramp (piecewise linear voltage vs. time). "
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    ABSTRACT: Hysteresis in the conductance of voltage-sensitive ion channels is observed when the transmembrane voltage is periodically varied with time. Although this phenomenon has been used in studies of gating of the voltage-dependent anion channel, VDAC, from the outer mitochondrial membrane for nearly four decades, full hysteresis curves have never been reported, because the focus was solely on the channel opening branches of the hysteresis loops. We studied the hysteretic response of a multichannel VDAC system to a triangular voltage ramp the frequency of which was varied over three orders of magnitude, from 0.5 mHz to 0.2 Hz. We found that in this wide frequency range the area encircled by the hysteresis curves changes by less than a factor of three, suggesting broad distribution of the characteristic times and strongly non-equilibrium behavior. At the same time, quasi-equilibrium two-state behavior is observed for hysteresis branches corresponding to VDAC opening. This enables calculation of the usual equilibrium gating parameters, gating charge and voltage of equipartitioning, which were found to be almost insensitive to the ramp frequency. To rationalize this peculiarity, we hypothesize that during voltage-induced closure and opening the system explores different regions of the complex free energy landscape, and, in the opening branch, follows quasi-equilibrium paths.
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