Research Topic

Mitochondrial Exchangers and Transporters in Cell Survival and Death

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This Research Topic centers on the most recent findings and controversies in mitochondrial transport proteins. The role of these transport proteins in the study of mitochondrial physiology has provided new and exhilarating insights into how mitochondria participate in the integration of cellular activities ...

This Research Topic centers on the most recent findings and controversies in mitochondrial transport proteins. The role of these transport proteins in the study of mitochondrial physiology has provided new and exhilarating insights into how mitochondria participate in the integration of cellular activities far beyond their canonical role in energy transduction. The transport of substrates, metabolites and ions between mitochondrial compartments and mitochondria and the cytosol is highly regulated by various exchangers, pumps, and channels. Perturbations or dysregulation of these transport processes can result in cell death and contribute to the pathogenesis of a myriad of diseases.

Until recently, the outer mitochondria membrane (OMM) was construed as a sieve to a large extent, but recent evidence supports a regulated conduit as the first barrier between the cytosol and mitochondria, the intermembrane space (IMS). Transport across the inner membrane of mitochondria (IMM) has been extensively studied, since maintenance of the very negative membrane potential is critical to the normal function of the electron transport chain (ETC). Under normal conditions, reactive oxygen species (ROS) are byproducts of mitochondrial metabolism. Cations regulate mitochondrial metabolism. However, changes in the fluxes of protons, potassium and calcium ions can disrupt respiration and facilitate the generation of deleterious ROS.

Yet, fundamental questions remain unanswered with regards to transport across the OMM and IMM. For example, discussions abound on the molecular identities of several transporters, including the mitochondrial permeability transition pore, mitochondrial ATP-sensitive potassium channels, and the calcium-hydrogen exchanger.

This Research Topic seeks to highlight the current state of research and knowledge on mitochondrial transport proteins from both original research articles and reviews. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to: structure-function relationships, molecular dynamics simulations, molecular identities, post-translational modifications, and endogenous/exogenous modulators of mitochondrial transport proteins. Articles on the roles of mitochondrial transport proteins in the pathogenesis of disease are also highly encouraged.


Keywords: mitochondria, transporters, calcium regulation, apoptosis, reactive oxygen species


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