VDAC1 at the crossroads of cell metabolism, apoptosis and cell stress

Varda Shoshan-Barmatz, Eduardo N. Maldonado, Yakov Krelin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


This review presents current knowledge related to VDAC1 as a multi-functional mitochondrial protein acting on both sides of the coin, regulating cell life and death, and highlighting these functions in relation to disease. It is now recognized that VDAC1 plays a crucial role in regulating the metabolic and energetic functions of mitochondria. The location of VDAC1 at the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM) allows the control of metabolic cross-talk between mitochondria and the rest of the cell and also enables interaction of VDAC1 with proteins involved in metabolic and survival pathways. Along with regulating cellular energy production and metabolism, VDAC1 is also involved in the process of mitochondria-mediated apoptosis by mediating the release of apoptotic proteins and interacting with antiapoptotic proteins. VDAC1 functions in the release of apoptotic proteins located in the mitochondrial intermembrane space via oligomerization to form a large channel that allows passage of cytochrome c and AIF and their release to the cytosol, subsequently resulting in apoptotic cell death. VDAC1 also regulates apoptosis via interactions with apoptosis regulatory proteins, such as hexokinase, Bcl2 and Bcl-xL, some of which are also highly expressed in many cancers. This review also provides insight into VDAC1 function in Ca2+ homeostasis, oxidative stress, and presents VDAC1 as a hub protein interacting with over 100 proteins. Such interactions enable VDAC1 to mediate and regulate the integration of mitochondrial functions with cellular activities. VDAC1 can thus be considered as standing at the crossroads between mitochondrial metabolite transport and apoptosis and hence represents an emerging cancer drug target.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-36
Number of pages26
JournalCell Stress
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • Apoptosis
  • Cancer
  • Metabolism
  • Mitochondria
  • VDAC1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Cancer Research
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Physiology


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