VDAC1 at the intersection of cell metabolism, apoptosis, and diseases

Varda Shoshan-Barmatz, Anna Shteinfer-Kuzmine, Ankit Verma

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


The voltage-dependent anion channel 1 (VDAC1) protein, is an important regulator of mitochondrial function, and serves as a mitochondrial gatekeeper, with responsibility for cellular fate. In addition to control over energy sources and metabolism, the protein also regulates epigenomic elements and apoptosis via mediating the release of apoptotic proteins from the mitochondria. Apoptotic and pathological conditions, as well as certain viruses, induce cell death by inducing VDAC1 overexpression leading to oligomerization, and the formation of a large channel within the VDAC1 homo-oligomer. This then permits the release of pro-apoptotic proteins from the mitochondria and subsequent apoptosis. Mitochondrial DNA can also be released through this channel, which triggers type-I interferon responses. VDAC1 also participates in endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-mitochondria cross-talk, and in the regulation of autophagy, and inflammation. Its location in the outer mitochondrial membrane, makes VDAC1 ideally placed to interact with over 100 proteins, and to orchestrate the interaction of mitochondrial and cellular activities through a number of signaling pathways. Here, we provide insights into the multiple functions of VDAC1 and describe its involvement in several diseases, which demonstrate the potential of this protein as a druggable target in a wide variety of pathologies, including cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1485
Pages (from-to)1-40
Number of pages40
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • Apoptosis
  • Cancer
  • Diseases
  • Metabolism
  • Mitochondria
  • VDAC1
  • Virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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