Vesicular transport is a means of communication. While cells can communicate with each other via secretion of extracellular vesicles, less is known regarding organelle-to organelle communication, particularly in the case of mitochondria. Mitochondria are responsible for the production of energy and for essential metabolic pathways in the cell, as well as fundamental processes such as apoptosis and aging. Here, we show that functional mitochondria isolated from Saccharomyces cerevisiae release vesicles, independent of the fission machinery. We isolate these mitochondrial-derived vesicles (MDVs) and find that they are relatively uniform in size, of about 100 nm, and carry selective protein cargo enriched for ATP synthase subunits. Remarkably, we further find that these MDVs harbor a functional ATP synthase complex. We demonstrate that these vesicles have a membrane potential, produce ATP, and seem to fuse with naive mitochondria. Our findings reveal a possible delivery mechanism of ATP-producing vesicles, which can potentially regenerate ATP-deficient mitochondria and may participate in organelle-to-organelle communication.
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© 2023 Weizmann Institute of Science. Published under the terms of the CC BY 4.0 license.
- ATP synthase
- membrane potential
- mitochondrial-derived vesicles
- protein distribution