Structural studies of human voltage dependent anion channel 2

Structural studies of human voltage dependent anion channel 2

Project details

The voltage dependent ion channel (VDAC) protein family consists of three different isoforms. They are the most abundant proteins in the mitochondrial outer membrane and regulate ion and metabolite exchange between the cytosol and mitochondria (Goncalves, J Mol Biol., 2007).

Recent studies showed that, despite previous observations, the pro-apoptotic protein Bak and a proportion of the related Bax may reside at mitochondria in association with VDAC2 specifically prior to an apoptotic insult (Ma, Cell Death Differ, 2014). 

The question remains what actually causes the profound functional differences between the individual VDAC isoforms. This project will build on established protocols for expressing, purifying and crystallising VDAC2, aiming to solve the X-ray crystal structure of VDAC2 and investigate its interactions with the apoptotic effector proteins Bak and Bax. 



About our research group

Our labs have a longstanding interest in how cells kill themselves and how these mechanisms are regulated at the molecular level. Dysfunctional cell death occurs in diseases such as cancer.  We use state of the art protein crystallography to reveal the atomic structures of proteins and protein complexes involved in cell death. Understanding these vital cellular processes may lead to the development and/or improvement of drugs targeting these pathways.

This collaboration between labs and research divisions, and the combined expertise, offers new possibilities for research development in the field of cell death.




Dr Boris Reljic profile photo
Cell Signalling and Cell Death division
Dr Richard Birkinshaw profile shot
Structural Biology division

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