Mitochondria are multifaceted organelles with key roles in anabolic and catabolic metabolism, bioenergetics, cellular signalling and nutrient sensing, and programmed cell death processes. Their diverse functions are enabled by a sophisticated set of protein components encoded by the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes. The extent and complexity of the mitochondrial proteome remained unclear for decades. This began to change 20 years ago when, driven by the emergence of mass spectrometry-based proteomics, the first draft mitochondrial proteomes were established. In the ensuing decades, further technological and computational advances helped to refine these ‘maps’, with current estimates of the core mammalian mitochondrial proteome ranging from 1,000 to 1,500 proteins. The creation of these compendia provided a systemic view of an organelle previously studied primarily in a reductionist fashion and has accelerated both basic scientific discovery and the diagnosis and treatment of human disease. Yet numerous challenges remain in understanding mitochondrial biology and translating this knowledge into the medical context. In this Roadmap, we propose a path forward for refining the mitochondrial protein map to enhance its discovery and therapeutic potential. We discuss how emerging technologies can assist the detection of new mitochondrial proteins, reveal their patterns of expression across diverse tissues and cell types, and provide key information on proteoforms. We highlight the power of an enhanced map for systematically defining the functions of its members. Finally, we examine the utility of an expanded, functionally annotated mitochondrial proteome in a translational setting for aiding both diagnosis of mitochondrial disease and targeting of mitochondria for treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-82
Number of pages18
JournalNature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


Dive into the research topics of 'Mitochondrial proteome research: the road ahead'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this