The translocator protein (TSPO; 18 kDa) is a high-affinity cholesterol-binding protein located in the outer membrane of mitochondria. A domain in the C-terminus of TSPO was characterized as the cholesterol recognition/interaction amino acid consensus (CRAC). The ability of the CRAC domain to bind to cholesterol led us to hypothesize that this peptide may participate in the regulation of mitochondrial membrane permeability. Herein, we report the effect of the synthetic CRAC peptide, VLNYYVW, on mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) opening. It was found that the CRAC peptide alone prevents the mPTP from opening, as well as the release of apoptotic factors (cytochrome c, AIF, and EndoG) in rat brain mitochondria (RBM). Co-incubation of CRAC, together with the TSPO drug ligand, PK 11195, resulted in the acceleration of mPTP opening and in the increase of apoptotic factor release. VLNYYVW did not induce swelling in rat liver mitochondria (RLM). 3,17,19-androsten-5-triol (19-Atriol; an inhibitor of the cholesterol-binding activity of the CRAC peptide) alone and in combination with the peptide was able to stimulate RLM swelling, which was Ca2+
- and CsA-sensitive. Additionally, a combination of 19-Atriol with 100 nM PK 11195 or with 100 µM PK 11195 displayed the opposite effect: namely, the addition of 19-Atriol with 100 µM PK 11195 in a suspension of RLM suppressed the Ca2+
-induced swelling of RLM by 40%, while the presence of 100 nM PK 11195 with 19-Atriol enhanced the swelling of RLM by 60%. Taken together, these data suggest the participation of the TSPO’s CRAC domain in the regulation of permeability transition.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited