The prime function of mitochondria is to provide the cell with adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP synthesis is driven by the protonmotive force (δp), which is generated and maintained across the inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM) by the activity of the respiratory chain1. It is widely believed that the IMM is unlikely to contain ion channels like those present in the plasma membrane, because the high rates of ion transport characteristic of open channels would be expected to dissipate the δp. Although the small size of the organelle has prevented the use of classical electrophysiological methods, the recent introduction of the patch-clamp technique, which allows currents to be recorded from very small cells2, has enabled us to test this hypothesis. By patch-clamping the IMM, we have identified a slightly anion-selective channel, which is voltage-dependent and has a mean conductance of 107 pS in the presence of symmetrical 150 mM KCl.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $3.90 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
1. Mitchell, P. Chemiosmotic Coupling in Oxidative and Photosynthetic Phosphorylation (Glynn, Bodmin, Cornwall, 1966). 2. Hamill, O. P., Marty, A., Neher, E., Sakmann, B. & Sigworth, F. J. Pflugers Arch ges. Physiol. 391, 85-100 (1985). 3. Hochman, J., Ferguson-Miller, S. & Schindler, M. Biochemistry 24, 2509-2516 (1985). 4. Sottocasa, G. L., Kuylenstierna, B., Ernster, L. & Bergstrand, A. Meth. Enzym. 10, 448-463 (1967). 5. Ferguson, S. J. & Sorgato, M. C. A. Rev. Biochem. 51, 185-217 (1982). 6. Colombini, M. Nature 279, 643-645 (1979). 7. Roos, N., Benz, R. & Brdiczka, D. Biochim. biophys. Acta 686, 204-214 (1982). 8. Tedeschi, H., Mannella, C. A. & Bowman, C. L. /. membrane Biol. 97, 21-29 (1987). 9. Azzi, A. & Azzone, G. F. Biochim. biophys. Acta 120, 466-468 (1966). 10. Brierley, G. P. Biochem. biophys. Res. Commun. 35, 396-402 (1969). 11. Selwyn, M. J., Dawson, A. P. & Fulton, D. V. Biochem. Soc. Trans. 7, 216-219 (1979). 12. Garlid, K. D. & Beavis, A. D. Biochim. biophys. Acta 853, 187-204 (1986). 13. Yaffe, M. & Schatz, G. Trends biochem. Sci. 9, 179-181 (1984). 14. Nicholls, D. G. Biochim. biophys. Acta 549, 1-29 (1979). 15. Tedeschi, H. & Harris, D. L. Archs biochem. Biophys. 58, 52-67 (1955). 16. Hurt, E. C. & van Loon, A. P. G. M. Trends biochem. Sci. 11, 204-207 (1986). 17. Pfanner, N. & Neupert, W. J. biol. Chem. 262, 7528-7536 (1987). 18. Sigworth, F. in Single Channel Recording (eds Sakmann, B. & Neher, E.) 91-105 (Plenum, New York, 1983).
About this article
Cite this article
Sorgato, M., Keller, B. & Stühmer, W. Patch-clamping of the inner mitochondrial membrane reveals a voltage-dependent ion channel . Nature 330, 498–500 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1038/330498a0
Electrophysiological properties of the mitochondrial permeability transition pores: Channel diversity and disease implication
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Bioenergetics (2021)
Frontiers in Physiology (2020)
Journal of General Physiology (2020)
Biomolecular Concepts (2020)
Physiological Reports (2019)