Characteristics of Mitochondrial Transformation into Human Cells

E. E. Kesner, A. Saada-Reich, H. Lorberboum-Galski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations

Abstract

Mitochondria can be incorporated into mammalian cells by simple co-incubation of isolated mitochondria with cells, without the need of transfection reagents or any other type of intervention. This phenomenon was termed mitochondrial transformation, and although it was discovered in 1982, currently little is known regarding its mechanism(s). Here we demonstrate that mitochondria can be transformed into recipient cells very quickly, and co-localize with endogenous mitochondria. The isolated mitochondria interact directly with cells, which engulf the mitochondria with cellular extensions in a way, which may suggest the involvement of macropinocytosis or macropinocytosis-like mechanisms in mitochondrial transformation. Indeed, macropinocytosis inhibitors but not clathrin-mediated endocytosis inhibition-treatments, blocks mitochondria transformation. The integrity of the mitochondrial outer membrane and its proteins is essential for the transformation of the mitochondria into cells; cells can distinguish mitochondria from similar particles and transform only intact mitochondria. Mitochondrial transformation is blocked in the presence of the heparan sulfate molecules pentosan polysulfate and heparin, which indicate crucial involvement of cellular heparan sulfate proteoglycans in the mitochondrial transformation process.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number26057
JournalScientific Reports
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - 17 May 2016

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