Mitochondrial ion channels

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

212 Scopus citations


In work spanning more than a century, mitochondria have been recognized for their multifunctional roles in metabolism, energy transduction, ion transport, inheritance, signaling, and cell death. Foremost among these tasks is the continuous production of ATP through oxidative phosphorylation, which requires a large electrochemical driving force for protons across the mitochondrial inner membrane. This process requires a membrane with relatively low permeability to ions to minimize energy dissipation. However, a wealth of evidence now indicates that both selective and nonselective ion channels are present in the mitochondrial inner membrane, along with several known channels on the outer membrane. Some of these channels are active under physiological conditions, and others may be activated under pathophysiological conditions to act as the major determinants of cell life and death. This review summarizes research on mitochondrial ion channels and efforts to identify their molecular correlates. Except in a few cases, our understanding of the structure of mitochondrial ion channels is limited, indicating the need for focused discovery in this area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-49
Number of pages31
JournalAnnual review of physiology
StatePublished - 2007


  • ATP synthesis
  • Bioenergetics
  • Energy metabolism
  • Ion transport
  • Ischemia
  • Mitochondria
  • Oxidative phosphorylation
  • Preconditioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Mitochondrial ion channels'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this