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J Vis Exp. 2009 Aug 24;(30). pii: 1417. doi: 10.3791/1417.

Purification of mitochondria from yeast cells.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Concordia University, Canada.


Mitochondria are the main site of ATP production during aerobic metabolism in eukaryotic non-photosynthetic cells. These complex organelles also play essential roles in apoptotic cell death, cell survival, mammalian development, neuronal development and function, intracellular signalling, and longevity regulation. Our understanding of these complex biological processes controlled by mitochondria relies on robust methods for assessing their morphology, their protein and lipid composition, the integrity of their DNA, and their numerous vital functions. The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a genetically and biochemically manipulable unicellular eukaryote with annotated genome and well-defined proteome, is a valuable model for studying the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying essential biological functions of mitochondria. For these types of studies, it is crucial to have highly pure mitochondria. Here we present a detailed description of a rapid and effective method for purification of yeast mitochondria. This method enables the isolation of highly pure mitochondria that are essentially free of contamination by other organelles and retain their structural and functional integrity after their purification. Mitochondria purified by this method are suitable for cell-free reconstitution of essential mitochondrial processes and can be used for the analysis of mitochondrial structure and functions, mitochondrial proteome and lipidome, and mitochondrial DNA.

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