Protein crowding in the inner mitochondrial membrane

Biochim Biophys Acta Bioenerg. 2021 Jan 1;1862(1):148305. doi: 10.1016/j.bbabio.2020.148305. Epub 2020 Sep 8.


The inner membrane of mitochondria is known for its low lipid-to-protein ratio. Calculations based on the size and the concentration of the principal membrane components, suggest about half of the hydrophobic volume of the membrane is occupied by proteins. Such high degree of crowding is expected to strain the hydrophobic coupling between proteins and lipids unless stabilizing mechanisms are in place. Both protein supercomplexes and cardiolipin are likely to be critical for the integrity of the inner mitochondrial membrane because they reduce the energy penalty of crowding.

Keywords: Cardiolipin; Lipids; Membrane; Mitochondria; Protein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Membranes / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism*


  • Mitochondrial Proteins