In eukaryotic cells, mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with a variety of human diseases. Delivery of exogenous functional mitochondria into damaged cells has been proposed as a mechanism of cell transplant and physiological repair for damaged tissue. We here demonstrated that isolated mitochondria can be transferred into homogeneic and xenogeneic cells by simple co-incubation using genetically labelled mitochondria, and elucidated the mechanism and the effect of direct mitochondrial transfer. Intracellular localization of exogenous mitochondria was confirmed by PCR, real-time PCR, live fluorescence imaging, three-dimensional reconstruction imaging, continuous time-lapse microscopic observation, flow cytometric analysis and immunoelectron microscopy. Isolated homogeneic mitochondria were transferred into human uterine endometrial gland-derived mesenchymal cells in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, mitochondrial transfer rescued the mitochondrial respiratory function and improved the cellular viability in mitochondrial DNA-depleted cells and these effects lasted several days. Finally, we discovered that mitochondrial internalization involves macropinocytosis. In conclusion, these data support direct transfer of exogenous mitochondria as a promising approach for the treatment of various diseases.
Keywords: macropinocytosis; mitochondrial transfer; rho0 cells.
© 2014 The Authors. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd and Foundation for Cellular and Molecular Medicine.