Abstract 89: MitoTimer Mouse: a Novel Tool for the Study of Mitochondrial Turnover in vivo
In order to study mitochondrial turnover at the level of a single mitochondrion, our laboratory has developed the MitoTimer protein. Timer is a mutant of DsRed fluorescent protein developed by Terskikh et al. The Timer protein transitions from green fluorescence to a more stable red conformation as it matures over a span of 48 h. Furthermore, the protein is very stable under physiological conditions, insensitive to variations in ionic strength, and changes in pH between 7.0 and 8.0. Notably, Timer maturation from green to red is significantly slowed in deoxygenated buffer, suggesting that molecular oxygen plays a part in fluorophore maturation. We fused the Timer protein with the mitochondrial signal sequence from the cytochrome c oxidase subunit VIII (COX8) to target the protein to the inner membrane of the mitochondria, and further cloned the protein into a construct with a cardiac-restricted α-myosin heavy chain promoter. This construct was used to create the α-MHC MitoTimer mice. Surprisingly, initial analysis of the hearts from these mice reveals a remarkable degree of heterogeneity in the ratio of red-to- green fluorescence of MitoTimer in cardiac tissue. Furthermore, individual mitochondria within cardiomyocytes display a higher red-to-green fluorescence, implying a block in import of newly synthesized MitoTimer that would be caused by the lack of a high membrane potential, indicative of older, dysfunctional mitochondria. Initial studies suggest that these mice represent an elegant tool for the investigation of mitochondrial turnover in the heart.
Author Disclosures: A.B. Stotland: None. J. Ramil: None. R.A. Gottlieb: None.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.