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Mitochondrial flash as a novel biomarker of mitochondrial respiration in the heart.

American journal of physiology. Heart and circulatory physiology (2015-08-16)
Guohua Gong, Xiaoyun Liu, Huiliang Zhang, Shey-Shing Sheu, Wang Wang
ABSTRACT

Mitochondrial respiration through electron transport chain (ETC) activity generates ATP and reactive oxygen species in eukaryotic cells. The modulation of mitochondrial respiration in vivo or under physiological conditions remains elusive largely due to the lack of appropriate approach to monitor ETC activity in a real-time manner. Here, we show that ETC-coupled mitochondrial flash is a novel biomarker for monitoring mitochondrial respiration under pathophysiological conditions in cultured adult cardiac myocyte and perfused beating heart. Through real-time confocal imaging, we follow the frequency of a transient bursting fluorescent signal, named mitochondrial flash, from individual mitochondria within intact cells expressing a mitochondrial matrix-targeted probe, mt-cpYFP (mitochondrial-circularly permuted yellow fluorescent protein). This mt-cpYFP recorded mitochondrial flash has been shown to be composed of a major superoxide signal with a minor alkalization signal within the mitochondrial matrix. Through manipulating physiological substrates for mitochondrial respiration, we find a close coupling between flash frequency and the ETC electron flow, as measured by oxygen consumption rate in cardiac myocyte. Stimulating electron flow under physiological conditions increases flash frequency. On the other hand, partially block or slowdown electron flow by inhibiting the F0F1 ATPase, which represents a pathological condition, transiently increases then decreases flash frequency. Limiting electron entrance at complex I by knocking out Ndufs4, an assembling subunit of complex I, suppresses mitochondrial flash activity. These results suggest that mitochondrial electron flow can be monitored by real-time imaging of mitochondrial flash. The mitochondrial flash frequency could be used as a novel biomarker for mitochondrial respiration under physiological and pathological conditions.

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