Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes

, Volume 46, Issue 5, pp 421–434 | Cite as

The role of tubulin in the mitochondrial metabolism and arrangement in muscle cells

  • Kersti Tepp
  • Kati Mado
  • Minna Varikmaa
  • Aleksandr Klepinin
  • Natalja Timohhina
  • Igor Shevchuk
  • Vladimir Chekulayev
  • Andrey V. Kuznetsov
  • Rita Guzun
  • Tuuli Kaambre


Tubulin, a well-known component of the microtubule in the cytoskeleton, has an important role in the transport and positioning of mitochondria in a cell type dependent manner. This review describes different functional interactions of tubulin with cellular protein complexes and its functional interaction with the mitochondrial outer membrane. Tubulin is present in oxidative as well as glycolytic type muscle cells, but the kinetics of the in vivo regulation of mitochondrial respiration in these muscle types is drastically different. The interaction between VDAC and tubulin is probably influenced by such factors as isoformic patterns of VDAC and tubulin, post-translational modifications of tubulin and phosphorylation of VDAC. Important factor of the selective permeability of VDAC is the mitochondrial creatine kinase pathway which is present in oxidative cells, but is inactive or missing in glycolytic muscle and cancer cells. As the tubulin-VDAC interaction reduces the permeability of the channel by adenine nucleotides, energy transfer can then take place effectively only through the mitochondrial creatine kinase/phosphocreatine pathway. Therefore, closure of VDAC by tubulin may be one of the reasons of apoptosis in cells without the creatine kinase pathway. An important question in tubulin regulated interactions is whether other proteins are interacting with tubulin. The functional interaction may be direct, through other proteins like plectins, or influenced by simultaneous interaction of other complexes with VDAC.


Tubulin Muscle cell Intracellular energetic unit Cytoskeleton Voltage dependent anion channel Mitochondrial outer membrane 



This work was supported by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research through the institutional research funding IUT (IUT23-1).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kersti Tepp
    • 1
  • Kati Mado
    • 1
  • Minna Varikmaa
    • 2
  • Aleksandr Klepinin
    • 1
  • Natalja Timohhina
    • 1
  • Igor Shevchuk
    • 1
  • Vladimir Chekulayev
    • 1
  • Andrey V. Kuznetsov
    • 3
  • Rita Guzun
    • 4
    • 5
  • Tuuli Kaambre
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of BioenergeticsNational Institute of Chemical Physics and BiophysicsTallinnEstonia
  2. 2.Faculty of Science, Department of ChemistryTallinn University of TechnologyTallinnEstonia
  3. 3.Cardiac Surgery Research Laboratory, Department of Heart SurgeryInnsbruck Medical UniversityInnsbruckAustria
  4. 4.Laboratory of Fundamental and Applied Bioenergetics, INSERM U1055Joseph Fourier UniversityGrenobleFrance
  5. 5.Department of Rehabilitation and PhysiologyUniversity Hospital GrenobleGrenobleFrance

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