VDAC1 and the TSPO: Expression, interactions, and associated functions in health and disease states

Varda Shoshan-Barmatz, Srinivas Pittala, Dario Mizrachi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The translocator protein (TSPO), located at the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM), serves multiple functions and contributes to numerous processes, including cholesterol import, mitochondrial metabolism, apoptosis, cell proliferation, Ca2+ signaling, oxidative stress, and inflammation. TSPO forms a complex with the voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC), a protein that mediates the flux of ions, including Ca2+, nucleotides, and metabolites across the OMM, controls metabolism and apoptosis and interacts with many proteins. This review focuses on the two OMM proteins TSPO and VDAC1, addressing their structural interaction and associated functions. TSPO appears to be involved in the generation of reactive oxygen species, proposed to represent the link between TSPO activation and VDAC, thus playing a role in apoptotic cell death. In addition, expression of the two proteins in healthy brains and diseased states is considered, as is the relationship between TSPO and VDAC1 expression. Both proteins are over-expressed in in brains from Alzheimer’s disease patients. Finally, TSPO expression levels were proposed as a biomarker of some neuropathological settings, while TSPO-interacting ligands have been considered as a potential basis for drug development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3348
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number13
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • Mitochondria
  • TSPO
  • VDAC1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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