Mitochondrial cristae modeled as an out-of-equilibrium membrane driven by a proton field

N. Patil , S. Bonneau , F. Joubert , A.F. Bitbol , H. Berthoumieux

Phys. Rev. E, 102, 2, 022401
Published 05 Aug. 2020
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.102.022401


As the places where most of the fuel of the cell, namely, ATP, is synthesized, mitochondria are crucial organelles in eukaryotic cells. The shape of the invaginations of the mitochondria inner membrane, known as a crista, has been identified as a signature of the energetic state of the organelle. However, the interplay between the rate of ATP synthesis and the crista shape remains unclear. In this work, we investigate the crista membrane deformations using a pH-dependent Helfrich model, maintained out of equilibrium by a diffusive flux of protons. This model gives rise to shape changes of a cylindrical invagination, in particular to the formation of necks between wider zones under variable, and especially oscillating, proton flux.