A Model Membrane Platform for Reconstituting Mitochondrial Membrane Dynamics

J Vis Exp. 2020 Sep 2:(163). doi: 10.3791/61620.


Mitochondrial dynamics is essential for the organelle's diverse functions and cellular responses. The crowded, spatially complex, mitochondrial membrane is a challenging environment to distinguish regulatory factors. Experimental control of protein and lipid components can help answer specific questions of regulation. Yet, quantitative manipulation of these factors is challenging in cellular assays. To investigate the molecular mechanism of mitochondria inner-membrane fusion, we introduced an in vitro reconstitution platform that mimics the lipid environment of the mitochondrial inner-membrane. Here we describe detailed steps for preparing lipid bilayers and reconstituting mitochondrial membrane proteins. The platform allowed analysis of intermediates in mitochondrial inner-membrane fusion, and the kinetics for individual transitions, in a quantitative manner. This protocol describes the fabrication of bilayers with asymmetric lipid composition and describes general considerations for reconstituting transmembrane proteins into a cushioned bilayer. The method may be applied to study other membrane systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Lipid Bilayers / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Membranes, Artificial*
  • Mitochondrial Membranes / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism


  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Membranes, Artificial
  • Mitochondrial Proteins