Scientific reports 2018 03 288(1) 5347 doi 10.1038/s41598-018-23730-7
The eukaryotic porin, also called the Voltage Dependent Anion-selective Channel (VDAC), is the main pore-forming protein of the outer mitochondrial membrane. In Drosophila melanogaster, a cluster of genes evolutionarily linked to VDAC is present on chromosome 2L. The main VDAC isoform, called VDAC1 (Porin1), is expressed from the first gene of the cluster. The porin1 gene produces two splice variants, 1A-VDAC and 1B-VDAC, with the same coding sequence but different 5′ untranslated regions (UTRs). Here, we studied the influence of the two 5′ UTRs, 1A-5′ UTR and 1B-5′ UTR, on transcription and translation of VDAC1 mRNAs. In porin-less yeast cells, transformation with a construct carrying 1A-VDAC results in the expression of the corresponding protein and in complementation of a defective cell phenotype, whereas the 1B-VDAC sequence actively represses VDAC expression. Identical results were obtained using constructs containing the two 5′ UTRs upstream of the GFP reporter. A short region of 15 nucleotides in the 1B-5′ UTR should be able to pair with an exposed helix of 18S ribosomal RNA (rRNA), and this interaction could be involved in the translational repression. Our data suggest that contacts between the 5′ UTR and 18S rRNA sequences could modulate the translation of Drosophila 1B-VDAC mRNA. The evolutionary significance of this finding is discussed.