Voltage-dependent anion channels (VDAC) in the plasma membrane induce apoptosis
Sammanfattning: Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is essential for proper development and functioning of the body systems. During development, apoptosis plays a central role to sculpt the embryo, and in adults, to maintain tissue homeostasis by eliminating redundant, damaged or effete cells. Therefore, a tight regulation of this process is essential. Cell shrinkage associated efflux of K+ and Cl– through plasma membrane ion channels is an early event of apoptosis. However, little is known about these fluxes. The aim of this thesis was to investigate ion channels in the plasma membrane of neurons undergoing apoptosis. We studied differentiated (the mouse hippocampal cell line HT22, the human neuroblastoma cell line SK-N-MC, and rat primary hippocampal neurons) and undifferentiated (rat primary cortical neural stem cells cNSCs) cells with the patch-clamp technique. All cell types displayed a low electrical activity under control conditions. However, during apoptosis in differentiated neurons, we found an activation of a voltage-dependent anion channel. The conductance of the channel is 400 pS, the voltage dependence of the opening is bell shaped with respect to membrane voltage with a maximum open probability at 0 mV, and the Cl? to cation selectivity is >5:1. These biophysical properties remind about the voltage-dependent anion channel normally found in the outer mitochondrial membrane (VDACmt). Hence, we call our apoptosis-inducing plasma membrane channel VDACpl. The molecular identity of the channel was corroborated with the specific labelling of different anti-VDAC antibodies. Block of this channel either with antibodies or with sucrose prevented apoptosis, suggesting a critical role for VDACpl in the apoptotic process. VDACpl is a NADH (-ferricyanide) reductase in control cells. We found that the enzymatic activity is altered while the VDACpl channel is activated during apoptosis. Surprisingly, in cNSCs we did not find any activation of VDACpl, no VDACpl-specific labelling, no enzymatic activity, and no prevention of apoptosis with VDACpl-blocking strategies. Instead, we found an activation of a voltage-independent 37 pS ion channel, and that the Cl– channel blocker DIDS prevented apoptosis in cNSCs. Our finding that activation of VDACpl is critical for apoptosis in differentiated neurons hopefully can lead to new strategies in the treatment of several diseases related to apoptosis.
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