Abstract 23: Characterization of MitoTimer, a Novel Tool for Monitoring Mitochondrial Turnover
Fluorescent Timer, or DsRed1-E5, is a mutant of the red fluorescent protein, dsRed, developed by Terskikh and colleagues. Its fluorescence shifts over time from green to red as the protein matures. This molecular clock gives temporal and spatial information on protein turnover. To visualize mitochondrial turnover, we targeted Timer to the mitochondrial matrix with a mitochondrial targeting sequence (coined “MitoTimer”) and cloned it into a tetracycline-inducible promoter construct to regulate its expression. Here we report characterization of this novel fluorescent reporter for mitochondrial dynamics. Tet-On HEK 293 cells were transfected with pTRE-tight-MitoTimer and induced production with doxycycline. Mitochondrial distribution was demonstrated by fluorescence microscopy and verified by subcellular fractionation and western blot analysis. Doxycycline addition for as little as 1hr was sufficient to label mitochondria. MitoTimer was detected as early as 4hr following doxycycline addition, and persisted in mitochondria for at least 72hr. The color-specific conformation of MitoTimer was stable after fixation with 4% paraformaldehyde. MitoTimer matured to red fluorescence within 48hr, at which time a second pulse of doxycycline induced expression of green (immature) MitoTimer which was selectively incorporated into a subset of mitochondria actively engaged in protein import. The extent of new protein incorporation during a second pulse was increased under conditions of mito-biogenesis and reduced if mitochondrial membrane potential was dissipated. We conclude that MitoTimer can be used to monitor mitophagy and biogenesis.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.