In this communication, we present results indicating a protein isolated from rat liver mitochondrial intermembrane space that is capable of binding cholesterol and transporting it between the inner and outer mitochondrial membranes. This protein has a molecular weight of 57.5 kDa by SDS-PAGE; however, under native conditions, there is cholesterol-binding capability only as a 115 kDa dimer. Our data show that this dimeric protein may play a role in the regulation of mitochondrial membrane cholesterol levels, a perquisite for the optimal activity of inner mitochondrial membrane-associated enzyme complexes. In addition, it appears that this protein is largely responsible for the differences in membrane cholesterol levels observed in normal and hepatoma mitochondria, a discrepancy which may help to explain the lack of energy production via oxidative phosporylation in malignant tumor mitochondria.
- Adenine nucleotide transporter
- Cholesterol-binding protein
- Mitochondrial membrane
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology