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PLoS One. 2011;6(12):e28628. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0028628. Epub 2011 Dec 9.

A method for the direct identification of differentiating muscle cells by a fluorescent mitochondrial dye.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, University of Toronto, Best Institute Medical Research, Toronto, Canada. tetsuaki.miyake@rogers.com

Abstract

Identification of differentiating muscle cells generally requires fixation, antibodies directed against muscle specific proteins, and lengthy staining processes or, alternatively, transfection of muscle specific reporter genes driving GFP expression. In this study, we examined the possibility of using the robust mitochondrial network seen in maturing muscle cells as a marker of cellular differentiation. The mitochondrial fluorescent tracking dye, MitoTracker, which is a cell-permeable, low toxicity, fluorescent dye, allowed us to distinguish and track living differentiating muscle cells visually by epi-fluorescence microscopy. MitoTracker staining provides a robust and simple detection strategy for living differentiating cells in culture without the need for fixation or biochemical processing.

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