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0 Q&A 4280 Views Jun 20, 2021

Mitochondria are essential organelles containing approximately 1,500 proteins. Only approximately 1% of these proteins are synthesized inside mitochondria, whereas the remaining 99% are synthesized as precursors on cytosolic ribosomes and imported into the organelle. Various tools and techniques to analyze the import process have been developed. Among them, in vitro reconstituted import systems are of importance to study these processes in detail. These experiments monitor the import reaction of mitochondrial precursors that were previously radiolabeled in a cell-free environment. However, the methods described have been mostly performed in mitochondria isolated from S. cerevisiae. Here, we describe the adaptation of this powerful assay to import proteins into crude mitochondria isolated from human tissue culture cells.


Graphic abstract:



Overview of the assay to monitor protein import into mitochondria isolated from human cells


2 Q&A 8413 Views Oct 5, 2019
Cardiac, neuronal and renal tubular epithelial cells are the most metabolically active cells in the body. Their fate depends largely on their mitochondria as the primary energy generating system which participates in the control of apoptosis, cell cycle and metabolism. Thus, mitochondrial dysfunction is a hallmark of many chronic diseases including diabetic nephropathy. A drop in mitochondrial bioenergetics efficiency is often associated with altered expression of respiratory chain complexes. Moreover, recent studies demonstrate that cellular proteins can shuttle to mitochondria and modify their function directly. Here we illustrate two mitochondria isolation protocols; one is recommended if the purity of the mitochondrial fraction is a priority such as if the mitochondrial localization of a protein has to be validated, the other if a high yield of intact functional mitochondria is required for functional studies and quantitative Western blotting. Next, we provide a detailed protocol for Western blotting of isolated mitochondria and renal cortex either to prove the purity of isolated fractions or to quantify complexes of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. We used this approach to identify classically cell membrane bound angiotensin II receptors in mitochondria and to study the effect of these receptors on mitochondrial function in early stages of diabetic nephropathy.
0 Q&A 4636 Views Jun 5, 2019
Cytosolic rRNAs are highly dynamic and can be degraded under conditions such as apoptosis, starvation and magnesium depletion. The degradation is also related to their specific localization, as fractions of cytosolic ribosomes are localized on the surfaces of intracellular organelles, such as endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondria. Such localized translation facilitates translocation of nascent proteins into these organelles co-translationally, contributing to fast responses to cellular stresses and precise regulations of the organelle. Here, we describe a protocol to establish the in organello system to investigate rRNA degradation on mitochondrial outer membrane or ER. The protocol consists of organelle isolation, rRNA degradation on organelles and agarose gel electrophoresis to examine the remaining rRNAs.
0 Q&A 6476 Views Jun 5, 2019
Mitochondria have two sets of RNAs. One is encoded in mitochondrial genome, and the other that consists of imported RNAs within mitochondria and cytosolic RNAs associated with mitochondrial outer membrane is encoded in the nucleus. These mitochondrial RNAs play important roles in mitochondrion biosynthesis and signaling in and out of mitochondria. Isolation and analysis of mitochondrial RNAs can provide useful information on understanding the mitochondrial regulation of cellular processes. However, several ribonuclease activities have been found in mitochondria, which will degrade mitochondrial RNAs during the isolation process if they are not properly inactivated. Here, we describe an improved method to inactivate the ribonuclease activities prior to RNA extraction, and thus provide a reliable protocol to isolate mammalian mitochondrial RNAs for quantitative RT-PCR and other assays.
0 Q&A 7689 Views Sep 5, 2018
Mitochondria contain hundreds of proteins which are encoded by the nuclear genome and synthesized in the cytosol from where they are imported into the organelle. Sorting signals encoded in the primary and secondary sequence of these proteins mediate the recognition of newly synthesized precursor proteins and their subsequent translocation through the mitochondrial TOM and TIM translocases. Proteins of the mitochondrial matrix employ aminoterminal matrix targeting signals (MTSs), also called presequences, that are necessary and sufficient for their import into mitochondria. In most cases, these MTSs are proteolytically removed from the mature part of precursor proteins subsequent to their translocation into the matrix. Recently, internal MTS-like sequences (iMTS-Ls) were discovered in the mature region of many precursor proteins. Although these sequences are not sufficient for matrix targeting, they strongly increase the import competence of precursors by supporting their interaction with mitochondrial surface receptors. Due to their similarity to N-terminal MTSs, these iMTS-Ls can be identified using mitochondrial targeting prediction tools such as TargetP which was initially trained to recognize MTSs. In this protocol we describe how TargetP can be used to identify iMTS-Ls in protein sequences.
0 Q&A 7321 Views Mar 5, 2017
Aequorin is a Ca2+ sensitive photoprotein suitable to measure intracellular Ca2+ transients in mammalian cells. Thanks to recombinant cDNAs expression, aequorin can be specifically targeted to various subcellular compartments, thus allowing an accurate measurement of Ca2+ uptake and release of different intracellular organelles. Here, we describe how to use this probe to measure cytosolic Ca2+ levels and mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake in mammalian cells.
0 Q&A 11615 Views Aug 5, 2016
The mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis involves a complex interplay between dozens of proteins and lipids, and is also dependent on the shape and size of mitochondria. The use of cellular models in past studies has not been ideal for investigating how the complex multi-factor interplay regulates the molecular mechanisms of mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP). Isolated systems have proven to be a paradigm to deconstruct MOMP into individual steps and to study the behavior of each subset of MOMP regulators. In particular, isolated mitochondria are key to in vitro studies of the BCL-2 family proteins, a complex family of pro-survival and pro-apoptotic proteins that directly control the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis (Renault et al., 2013).

In this protocol, we describe three complementary procedures for investigating in real-time the effects of MOMP regulators using isolated mitochondria. The first procedure is “Liver mitochondria isolation” in which the liver is dissected from mice to obtain mitochondria. “Mitochondria labeling with JC-1 and size fractionation” is the second procedure that describes a method to label, fractionate by size and standardize subpopulations of mitochondria. Finally, the “Real-time MOMP measurements” protocol allows to follow MOMP in real-time on isolated mitochondria. The aforementioned procedures were used to determine in vitro the role of mitochondrial membrane shape at the level of isolated cells and isolated mitochondria (Renault et al., 2015).
1 Q&A 17925 Views May 20, 2016
In addition to methods aimed at the study of mitochondrial function in-situ, a full understanding of mitochondrial function requires their purification from cells or tissues under specific physiological or pathological conditions. This protocol illustrates a sequential procedure to obtain functional mitochondria with high yield from mice liver tissue. Mitochondria obtained with this method can be used to assess different mitochondrial parameters, including oxygen consumption, membrane potential and calcium retention capacity.
3 Q&A 16601 Views May 20, 2016
In addition to methods aimed at the study of mitochondrial function in-situ, a full understanding of mitochondrial function requires their purification from cells or tissues under specific physiological or pathological conditions. This protocol illustrates a sequential procedure to obtain functional mitochondria with high yield from mice brain tissue. Mitochondria obtained with this method can be used to assess different mitochondrial parameters, including oxygen consumption, membrane potential and calcium retention capacity.
2 Q&A 27387 Views Nov 20, 2014
Mitochondria are organelles that have important functions in oxidative phosphorylation, fatty acid oxidation and apoptosis signaling. They have two distinct membranes, outer membrane (OM) and inner membrane (IM). IM contains respiratory chain complexes that produce ATP. IM is rich in cardiolipin, a specific phospholipid reportedly having a critical role for organizing super-complex formation of respiratory chain complexes. IM abundant in cardiolipin exhibits resistance to extraction by digitonin (a non-ionic detergent), whereas the detergent easily lyses OM. Therefore, digitonin is useful to separate mitoplast (IM plus matrix) and OM from mitochondria. Here, we describe a method to isolate mitochondria from HeLa cells, and a method to isolate mitochondrial outer membrane proteins and inner membrane proteins by using digitonin. This method is applicable also to other types of cultured cells such as COS-7.



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