The probability of mitochondrial permeability transition (mPT) pore opening is inversely related to the magnitude of the proton electrochemical gradient. The module conferring sensitivity of the pore to this gradient has not been identified. We investigated mPT's voltage-sensing properties elicited by calcimycin or H2O2in human fibroblasts exhibiting partial or complete lack of ANT1 and in C2C12 myotubes with knocked-down ANT1 expression. mPT onset was assessed by measuring in situ mitochondrial volume using the 'thinness ratio'and the 'cobalt-calcein'technique. De-energization hastened calcimycin-induced swelling in control and partially-expressing ANT1 fibroblasts, but not in cells lacking ANT1, despite greater losses of mitochondrial membrane potential. Matrix Ca 2+ levels measured by X-rhod-1 or mitochondrially-targeted ratiometric biosensor 4mtD3cpv, or ADP-ATP exchange rates did not differ among cell types. ANT1-null fibroblasts were also resistant to H2O2-induced mitochondrial swelling. Permeabilized C2C12 myotubes with knocked-down ANT1 exhibited higher calcium uptake capacity and voltage-thresholds of mPT opening inferred from cytochrome c release, but intact cells showed no differences in calcimycin-induced onset of mPT, irrespective of energization and ANT1 expression, albeit the number of cells undergoing mPT increased less significantly upon chemically-induced hypoxia than control cells. We conclude that ANT1 confers sensitivity of the pore to the electrochemical gradient.
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