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Anal Biochem. 2006 Jan 15;348(2):209-21. Epub 2005 Oct 6.

Binding mitochondria to cryogel monoliths allows detection of proteins specifically released following permeability transition.

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Laboratory for Experimental Brain Research, Wallenberg Neuroscience Center, Lund University, 221 84 Lund, Sweden.


Following proapoptotic signals such as calcium-induced mitochondrial permeability transition or translocation of proapoptotic proteins, mitochondria induce cell death through release of apoptogenic proteins. The mechanism of release and the identity of the released proteins are currently debated. Earlier attempts at identification of the apoptogenic proteins have been hampered by a high nonspecific background. Our aim was to develop a novel method where background release was eliminated, allowing proteins specifically released from mitochondria following proapoptotic stimulation to be identified. Liver mitochondria were immobilized and washed on cryogel monoliths prior to induction of protein release (calcium or Bid/Bax). Immobilized mitochondria exhibited normal morphology and swelling response and retained respiratory activity. The released proteins were collected, concentrated, separated on polyacrylamide gels which were cut into pieces, trypsin-digested, and analyzed using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Control samples contained no protein, and stimulation with calcium and Bid/Bax resulted in identification of 68 and 82 proteins, respectively. We conclude that, in combination with the robust proteomic approach, immobilization on cryogel monoliths is a fruitful approach for studying specific protein release from isolated mitochondria. We propose that this method is a powerful tool to further characterize the role of mitochondria in cell death induction.

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