* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received February 18, 2008; Revision received March 31, 2008
It was shown that separate fragments of the inner mitochondrial compartment (mitoplasts) can exist under a single non-fragmented outer membrane. Here we asked whether fragmentation of the inner mitochondria could prevent rupturing of the outer membrane and release of pro-apoptotic molecules from the mitochondrial intermembrane space into the cytoplasm during mitochondrial swelling. First, we showed that in Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast addition of amiodarone causes formation of electrically separate compartments within mitochondrial filaments. Moreover, amiodarone treatment of Deltaysp2 mutant produced a higher proportion of cells with electrically discontinuous mitochondria than in the wild type, which correlated with the survival of cells. We confirmed the existence of separated mitoplasts under a single outer membrane using electron microscopy. Mitochondria with fragmented matrixes were also detected in cells of the stationary phase. Our data suggest that such fragmentation acts as a cellular protective mechanism against stress.
KEY WORDS: yeast, mitochondrion, mitochondria fragmentation, ysp2, amiodarone, apoptosis