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Persistence of the mitochondrial permeability transition in the absence of subunit c of human ATP synthase.

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He, J 
Ford, HC 
Carroll, J 
Ding, S 
Fearnley, IM 


The permeability transition in human mitochondria refers to the opening of a nonspecific channel, known as the permeability transition pore (PTP), in the inner membrane. Opening can be triggered by calcium ions, leading to swelling of the organelle, disruption of the inner membrane, and ATP synthesis, followed by cell death. Recent proposals suggest that the pore is associated with the ATP synthase complex and specifically with the ring of c-subunits that constitute the membrane domain of the enzyme's rotor. The c-subunit is produced from three nuclear genes, ATP5G1, ATP5G2, and ATP5G3, encoding identical copies of the mature protein with different mitochondrial-targeting sequences that are removed during their import into the organelle. To investigate the involvement of the c-subunit in the PTP, we generated a clonal cell, HAP1-A12, from near-haploid human cells, in which ATP5G1, ATP5G2, and ATP5G3 were disrupted. The HAP1-A12 cells are incapable of producing the c-subunit, but they preserve the characteristic properties of the PTP. Therefore, the c-subunit does not provide the PTP. The mitochondria in HAP1-A12 cells assemble a vestigial ATP synthase, with intact F1-catalytic and peripheral stalk domains and the supernumerary subunits e, f, and g, but lacking membrane subunits ATP6 and ATP8. The same vestigial complex plus associated c-subunits was characterized from human 143B ρ(0) cells, which cannot make the subunits ATP6 and ATP8, but retain the PTP. Therefore, none of the membrane subunits of the ATP synthase that are involved directly in transmembrane proton translocation is involved in forming the PTP.



ATP synthase, ATP5G, human mitochondria, permeability transition pore, subunit c

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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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National Academy of Sciences
Medical Research Council (MC_EX_MR/M009858/1)
Medical Research Council (MC_U105663150)
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_00015/8)
MRC (MC_UU_00015/8)
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_00015/7)
This work was supported by the Medical Research Council (MRC) of the United Kingdom by Grant MC_U1065663150 and by Programme Grant MR/M009858/1 (to J.E.W.). H.C.F. received an MRC PhD studentship.