Mitochondrial-derived vesicles retain membrane potential and contain a functional ATP synthase

Reut Hazan, Dvora Lintzer, Tamar Ziv, Koyeli Das, Irit Rosenhek-Goldian, Ziv Porat, Hila Ben Ami Pilo, Sharon Karniely, Ann Saada*, Neta Regev-Rudzki*, Ophry Pines*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere56114
JournalEMBO Reports
Issue number5
StatePublished - 4 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Weizmann Institute of Science. Published under the terms of the CC BY 4.0 license.


  • ATP synthase
  • membrane potential
  • mitochondria
  • mitochondrial-derived vesicles
  • protein distribution


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