Yeast mitochondria: an overview of mitochondrial biology and the potential of mitochondrial systems biology

Carl Malina, Christer Larsson, Jens Nielsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Mitochondria are dynamic organelles of endosymbiotic origin that are essential components of eukaryal cells. They contain their own genetic machinery, have multicopy genomes and like their bacterial ancestors they consist of two membranes. However, the majority of the ancestral genome has been lost or transferred to the nuclear genome of the host, preserving only a core set of genes involved in oxidative phosphorylation. Mitochondria perform numerous biological tasks ranging from bioenergetics to production of protein co-factors, including heme and iron-sulfur clusters. Due to the importance of mitochondria in many cellular processes, mitochondrial dysfunction is implicated in a wide variety of human disorders. Much of our current knowledge on mitochondrial function and dysfunction comes from studies using Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This yeast has good fermenting capacity, rendering tolerance to mutations that inactivate oxidative phosphorylation and complete loss of mitochondrial DNA. Here, we review yeast mitochondrial metabolism and function with focus on S. cerevisiae and its contribution in understanding mitochondrial biology. We further review how systems biology studies, including mathematical modeling, has allowed gaining new insight into mitochondrial function, and argue that this approach may enable us to gain a holistic view on how mitochondrial function interacts with different cellular processes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberfoy040
JournalFEMS Yeast Research
Issue number5
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Mitochondria
  • Mitochondrial metabolism
  • Mitochondrial disorders


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