The fine structure of mitochondria and submitochondrial vesicles depleted of their lipid by extraction with aqueous acetone was studied. Thin sections of mitochondrial membranes depleted of more than 95% of their lipid retained the unit membrane structure. Densitometer tracings of the electron micrographs showed that the unit membrane of extracted mitochondria was, on the average, wider than that of unextracted controls and showed a greater variation in width. The outer membrane was lost in mitochondria from which 80–95% of the lipids was extracted. Inner membrane particles were present on submitochondrial vesicles depleted of up to 85% of their lipids. However, when more than 95% of the lipid was removed, few, if any, particles remained attached to the membranes but many particles were found unattached in the background. When lipid was restored to lipid-deficient preparations, the mitochondrial membranes were found to be devoid of inner membrane particles but were fully active with respect to succinate-cytochrome c reductase activity.

This content is only available as a PDF.