In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, inactivation of the gene encoding the delta subunit of the ATP synthase led to a lack of assembly of the catalytic sector. In addition a slow-growth phenotype was observed on fermentable medium. This alteration appears in strains lacking intact mitochondrial DNA and showing a defect in the assembly of the catalytic sector, such as the yeast strain inactivated in the gene encoding the epsilon subunit. In rho mitochondria having an intact F1, the ion movement resulting from the exchange of ADP formed in the organelle and ATP entering the mitochondrial compartment led to a mitochondrial transmembranous potential delta psi that was sensitive to carboxyactractyloside. This ion movement was dramatically decreased in rho mitochondria lacking the delta subunit and thus the F1 sector, whereas a cell devoid of delta subunit and complemented with a plasmid harboring the ATPdelta gene displayed an assembled F1, a normal generation time and a fully restored mitochondrial potential. This result could be linked to the involvement of the membrane potential delta psi which is indispensible for mitochondrial biogenesis.