Cluster of Excellence –
University of Freiburg

Metabolic control of the voltage anion channel (VDAC)

PD Dr. Thomas Becker and Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Pfanner (Institute for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Freiburg)


The voltage dependent anion channel (VDAC) allows the passage of small molecules like metabolites across the mitochondrial outer membrane, playing a central role in the communication of mitochondria with the cytosol. In affinity purifications combined with mass spectrometry we identified several interaction partners of VDAC, indicating close links to protein transport and mitochondrial membrane architecture. In addition, VDAC associates with two outer membrane proteins of unknown function, Om14 and Om45. The protein levels of Om14 and Om45 are strongly regulated in response to metabolic shifts of the cell. We hypothesize that coupling to distinct partner proteins modulates the activity of VDAC. In this project we will use a combination of state of the art biochemical, molecular and cell biological techniques to functional characterize the interactions of VDAC to partner proteins. We will analyze whether metabolic shifts affect the segregation of VDAC. Our study will reveal how cellular signaling controls the integration of VDAC into a mitochondrial protein network.