Not an ion channel in the sense of a gateway for ions to change the transmembrane voltage or membrane potential, but rather the mitochondrial voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC) controls the transit of adenine nucleotides, Ca2+, and other metabolites both into and out of the mitochondrion in a voltage dependent manner. It is constituent of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (PTP). Three kinds of VDACs (1-3) are known to date. The assumption has generally been that VDAC is constantly open during metabolism. Recent data, however, suggest that VDAC has the ability to close and inhibit exchange of metabolites within intact cells. In particular, VDAC closes early in the evolution of apoptosis with the consequence that mitochondria cannot release ATP or take up ADP, Pi and respiratory substrates from the cytosol. Therefore, VDACs are increasingly linked with the control of apoptosis,.
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