, Volume 40, Issue 9, pp 1903-1916
Date: 17 Apr 2012

Mitochondrial Dynamics and Motility Inside Living Vascular Endothelial Cells: Role of Bioenergetics

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Abstract

The mitochondrial network is dynamic with conformations that vary between a tubular continuum and a fragmented state. The equilibrium between mitochondrial fusion/fission, as well as the organelle motility, determine network morphology and ultimately mitochondrial/cell function. Network morphology has been linked with the energy state in different cell types. In this study, we examined how bioenergetic factors affect mitochondrial dynamics/motility in cultured vascular endothelial cells (ECs). ECs were transduced with mitochondria-targeted green fluorescent protein (mito-GFP) and exposed to inhibitors of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) or ATP synthesis. Time-lapse fluorescence videos were acquired and a mathematical program that calculates size and speed of each mitochondrial object at each time frame was developed. Our data showed that inner mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm), ATP produced by glycolysis, and, to a lesser degree, ATP produced by mitochondria are critical for maintaining the mitochondrial network, and different metabolic stresses induce distinct morphological patterns (e.g., mitochondrial depolarization is necessary for “donut” formation). Mitochondrial movement, characterized by Brownian diffusion with occasional bursts in displacement magnitude, was inhibited under the same conditions that resulted in increased fission. Hence, imaging/mathematical analysis shed light on the relationship between bioenergetics and mitochondrial network morphology; the latter may determine EC survival under metabolic stress.