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Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2013 May;12(5):944-56. doi: 10.1039/c3pp25360k.

Visualization of mitochondria in living cells with a genetically encoded yellow fluorescent protein originating from a yellow-emitting luminous bacterium.

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  • 1Department of Biomolecular Engineering, Graduate School of Science and Technology, Kyoto Institute of Technology, 1 Hashigami-cho, Matsugasaki, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8585, Japan. karatani@kit.ac.jp


We have visualized redox and structural changes in the mitochondria of yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a eukaryotic cell model using a genetically encoded yellow fluorescent protein (Y1-Yellow) and conventional fluorescence microscopy. Y1-Yellow originating from a yellow emitting luminous bacterium Aliivibrio sifiae Y1 was fused with a mitochondria-targeted sequence (mt-sequence). Y1-Yellow fluorescence arising only from the mitochondrial site and the color of yellow fluorescence could be easily differentiated from cellular autofluorescence and from that of conventional probes. Y1-Yellow expressing S. cerevisiae made the yellow fluorescence conspicuous at the mitochondrial site in response to reactive oxygen species (ROS) transiently derived in the wake of pretreatment with hydrogen peroxide. Based on our observation with Y1-Yellow fluorescence, we also showed that mitochondria rearrange to form a cluster structure surrounding chromosomal DNA via respiratory inhibition by cyanide, followed by the generation of ROS. In contrast, uptake of an uncoupler of oxidative phosphorylation is not responsible for mitochondrial rearrangement. These results indicate the utility of Y1-Yellow for visualization of mitochondrial vitality and morphology in living cells.

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