Our research is focused on mitochondrial porin, aka the voltage-dependent anion-selective channel (VDAC). Our research questions relate to linking porin structure and function. We use the model organism, Neurospora crassa, to investigate porin function, because this haploid organism expresses a single porin isoform, making the analysis less complex than in diploid human cells with three isoforms. Structural studies involve N. crassa porin expressed in E. coli and refolded in detergent.
Some of our current research questions include:
i) Do variants that form pores in artificial membranes also function in vivo, and if so, is their function altered from that of wild-type?
ii) Which portions of the protein are essential for interactions with other cellular components?
iii) What happens to mitochondrial membranes lacking porin?
iv) Can N. crassa be a source of VDAC suitable for structural studies?