Mapping the ruthenium red-binding site of the voltage-dependent anion channel-1

Adrian Israelson, Hilal Zaid, Salah Abu-Hamad, Edna Nahon, Varda Shoshan-Barmatz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


We have previously shown that ruthenium red (RuR) binds to the voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC) in the outer mitochondrial membrane, decreasing channel conductance and protecting against apoptotic cell death. In this report, we define the murine and yeast VDAC1 amino acid residues involved in the interaction with RuR. Binding of RuR to bilayer-reconstituted mVDAC1 and the resulting channel closure was inhibited upon mutation of specific VDAC1 residues. RuR protection against cell death, as induced by overexpression of native or mutated mVDAC1, was also diminished upon mutation of these amino acids. Moreover, RuR-mediated inhibition of cytochrome c release normally induced by staurosporine was not observed in cells expressing mutants VDAC1. We found that four glutamate residues, two each located in the first and third mVDAC1 cytosolic loops, are required for the interaction of VDAC1 with RuR and subsequent protection against cell death. Similar results were obtained with Q72E-yeast VDAC1, except that only three glutamate residues, located in two cytosolic loops were required. As a hexavalent reagent, RuR is expected to bind to more than one negatively charged group. Our results thus clearly indicate that RuR protects against cell death via a direct interaction with VDAC1 to inhibit cytochrome c release and subsequent cell death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-204
Number of pages9
JournalCell Calcium
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • Apoptosis
  • Mitochondria
  • Ruthenium red
  • VDAC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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