Cell Biology


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0 Q&A 1644 Views Jan 5, 2022

The mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) performs several critical biological functions, including maintaining mitochondrial membrane potential, serving as an electron sink for important metabolic pathways, and contributing to the generation of ATP via oxidative phosphorylation. The ETC is important for the survival of many eukaryotic organisms, including intracellular parasites such as the apicomplexan Toxoplasma gondii. The ETC of T. gondii and related parasites differs in several ways from the ETC of the mammalian host cells they infect, and can be targeted by anti-parasitic drugs, including the clinically used compound atovaquone. To characterize the function of novel ETC proteins found in the parasite and to identify new ETC inhibitors, a scalable assay that assesses both ETC function and non-mitochondrial parasite metabolism (e.g., glycolysis) is desirable. Here, we describe methods to measure the oxygen consumption rate (OCR) of intact T. gondii parasites and thereby assess ETC function, while simultaneously measuring the extracellular acidification rate (ECAR) as a measure of general parasite metabolism, using a Seahorse XFe96 extracellular flux analyzer. We also describe a method to pinpoint the location of ETC defects and/or the targets of inhibitors, using permeabilized T. gondii parasites. We have successfully used these methods to investigate the function of T. gondii proteins, including the apicomplexan parasite-specific protein subunit TgQCR11 of the coenzyme Q:cytochrome c oxidoreductase complex (ETC Complex III). We note that these methods are also amenable to screening compound libraries to identify candidate ETC inhibitors.

0 Q&A 3477 Views Apr 5, 2021

Cellular health and function, as we know today, depend on a large extent on mitochondrial function. The essential function of mitochondria is the energy production, more precisely ATP production, via oxidative phosphorylation. Mitochondrial energy production parameters therefore represent important biomarkers. Studies on human cells have mainly been performed on in vitro cell cultures. However, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) are particularly suitable for such examinations. That’s why this protocol describes a method to measure key parameters of mitochondrial function in freshly isolated PBMCs with the latest technology, the XF Analyzer. For this ex vivo approach PBMCs are first isolated out of human anticoagulated blood. Next, they are attached to the surface of special microplates pre-coated with Poly-D-Lysine. During the subsequent measurement of oxygen consumption rate (OCR) as well as extracellular acidification rate (ECAR) the stress reagents oligomycin, carbonyl cyanide 4-(trifluoromethoxy)phenylhydrazone (FCCP), rotenone and antimycin A are injected. Several mitochondrial parameters can be calculated from the results obtained. The application of this protocol allows the analysis of various influences, such as pharmaceuticals or environmental factors, on human cells.

0 Q&A 4135 Views Dec 5, 2019
Mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with a number of human diseases. As an example, we recently established in vivo Drosophila models of IBMPFD (Inclusion body myopathy, Paget disease, and frontotemporal dementia), and uncovered that human disease mutations of the p97/VCP (Valosin Containing Protein) gene behave as hyperactive alleles associated with mitochondrial defects. Pharmacologic inhibition of VCP strongly suppressed disease and mitochondrial pathology in these animal models. In this protocol, we describe a method to evaluate mitochondrial respiratory function in IBMPFD patient-derived fibroblasts, as well as investigate the role of pharmacologic treatments. These experiments complement work done in animal models by investigating mitochondrial biology and the pharmacologic response in a human cell-based model of the disease. In principle, this technique can be used to investigate mitochondrial respiratory function for any disease in which patient-derived fibroblasts are available.

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