The voltage-dependent anion channel 1 mediates amyloid β toxicity and represents a potential target for Alzheimer disease therapy

Angela Smilansky, Liron Dangoor, Itay Nakdimon, Danya Ben-Hail, Dario Mizrachi, Varda Shoshan-Barmatz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


The voltage-dependent anion channel 1 (VDAC1), found in the mitochondrial outer membrane, forms the main interface between mitochondrial and cellular metabolisms, mediates the passage of a variety of molecules across the mitochondrial outer membrane, and is central to mitochondria-mediated apoptosis. VDAC1 is overexpressed in post-mortem brains of Alzheimer disease (AD) patients. The development and progress of AD are associated with mitochondrial dysfunction resulting from the cytotoxic effects of accumulated amyloid β (Aβ). In this study we demonstrate the involvement of VDAC1 and a VDAC1 N-terminal peptide (VDAC1-N-Ter) in Aβ cell penetration and cell death induction. Aβ directly interacted with VDAC1 and VDAC1-N-Ter, as monitored by VDAC1 channel conductance, surface plasmon resonance, and microscale thermophoresis. Preincubated Aβ interacted with bilayer-reconstituted VDAC1 and increased its conductance β2-fold. Incubation of cells with Aβ resulted in mitochondria-mediated apoptotic cell death. However, the presence of non-cell-penetrating VDAC1-N-Ter peptide preventedAβ cellular entry andAβ-induced mitochondria- mediated apoptosis. Likewise, silencing VDAC1 expression by specific siRNA prevented Aβ entry into the cytosol as well as Aβ-induced toxicity. Finally, the mode of Aβ-mediated action involves detachment of mitochondria-bound hexokinase, induction of VDAC1 oligomerization, and cytochrome c release, a sequence of events leading to apoptosis. As such, we suggest that Aβ-mediated toxicity involves mitochondrial and plasma membrane VDAC1, leading to mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis induction. The VDAC1-N-Ter peptide targeting Aβ cytotoxicity is thus a potential new therapeutic strategy for AD treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30670-30683
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number52
StatePublished - 25 Dec 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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