Cell Biology

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0 Q&A 936 Views Apr 5, 2022

Ultra-precise stimulation solely to individual mitochondria, without any influence to the whole cell, is quite difficult by traditional biochemical reagents. In mitophagy research, the mitochondria and even the whole cell usually suffer irreversible and great damage caused by treatment with potent chemicals. In this protocol, we present the technical procedures of our developed noninvasive ultra-precise laser stimulation (UPLaS) technology, which introduces precise stimulation to individual mitochondria, to excite mitochondrial Ca2+ (mitoCa2+) oscillations, with little perturbation to mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), or mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mitoROS). The mitoCa2+ oscillation by UPLaS was able to initiate the PINK1/Parkin pathway for mitophagy. This protocol has good potential to benefit researches on mitophagy and mitochondrial diseases.

Graphic abstract:

Figure 1. Flowchart of the UPLaS technology.

The femtosecond laser (1030 nm, 1 MHz, 220 fs) can stimulate individual mitochondria (1 μm2) for a short period (0.1 s), whereas confocal microscopy (CM) provides continuous cell imaging to monitor molecular dynamics in real time, before and after UPLaS.

1 Q&A 25992 Views Dec 20, 2013
Autophagy is a dynamic cellular event that is involved in the degradation of long lived proteins and organelles in cells. Biochemical methods such as western blot to measure autophagic proteins have been increasingly used in autophagy studies because it is convenient and objective. Among them, the total amount of Microtubule-associated protein light chain 3 (LC3), the mammalian homologue of the autophagy-related Atg8 in yeast, is a very useful and most commonly used tool in autophagy studies. Other methods such as electron microscopy and immunofluorescence are also available to measure autophagy. The following protocol describes three simple and commonly used protocols for measuring autophagy in cells: LC3B immunofluorescence, western blot and acridine orange assay. Although these three methods are frequently used to provide basic information about autophagy, people should keep in mind that they are not enough to give the exact details about the autophagy flux due to the complexity of this dynamic process. In addition, acridine orange assay is only a supplementary method to detect autophagy because it also has high affinity to other organelles such as lysosomes. For further investigation about a compound’s effect on autophagy flux, additional and more complicated assays are recommended. Protocols here provide a starting point for people to get a snapshot of whether a compound can affect autophagy in tissue culture cells.

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