Redox-dependent gating of VDAC by mitoNEET
MitoNEET is an outer mitochondrial membrane protein essential for sensing and regulation of iron and reactive oxygen species (ROS) homeostasis. It is a key player in multiple human maladies including diabetes, cancer, neurodegeneration, and Parkinson’s diseases. In healthy cells, mitoNEET receives its clusters from the mitochondrion and transfers them to acceptor proteins in a process that could be altered by drugs or during illness. Here, we report that mitoNEET regulates the outer-mitochondrial membrane (OMM) protein voltage-dependent anion channel 1 (VDAC1). VDAC1 is a crucial player in the cross talk between the mitochondria and the cytosol. VDAC proteins function to regulate metabolites, ions, ROS, and fatty acid transport, as well as function as a “governator” sentry for the transport of metabolites and ions between the cytosol and the mitochondria. We find that the redox-sensitive [2Fe-2S] cluster protein mitoNEET gates VDAC1 when mitoNEET is oxidized. Addition of the VDAC inhibitor 4,4′-diisothiocyanatostilbene-2,2′-disulfonate (DIDS) prevents both mitoNEET binding in vitro and mitoNEET-dependent mitochondrial iron accumulation in situ. We find that the DIDS inhibitor does not alter the redox state of MitoNEET. Taken together, our data indicate that mitoNEET regulates VDAC in a redox-dependent manner in cells, closing the pore and likely disrupting VDAC’s flow of metabolites.