We have incorporated into planar lipid bilayer membranes a voltage-dependent, anion-selective channel (VDAC) obtained from Paramecium aurelia. VDAC-containing membranes have the following properties: (1) The steady-state conductance of a many-channel membrane is maximal when the transmembrane potential is zero and decreases as a steep function of both positive and negative voltage. (2) The fraction of time that an individual channel stays open is strongly voltage dependent in a manner that parallels the voltage dependence of a many-channel membrane. (3) The conductance of the open channel is about 500 pmho in 0.1 to 1.0 m salt solutions and is ohmic. (4) The channel is about 7 times more permeable to Cl- than to K+ and is impermeable to Ca++. The procedure for obtaining VDAC and the properties of the channel are highly reproducible. VDAC activity was found, upon fractionation of the paramecium membranes, to come from the mitochondria. We note that the published data on mitochondrial Cl- permeability suggest that there may indeed be a voltage-dependent Cl- permeability in mitochondria. The method of incorporating VDAC into planar lipid bilayers may be generally useful for reconstituting biological transport systems in these membranes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology