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Biophys J. 2016 Jul 26;111(2):386-394. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2016.05.052.

Protons Trigger Mitochondrial Flashes.

Author information

1
State Key Laboratory of Membrane Biology, Peking-Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences, Institute of Molecular Medicine, Peking University, Beijing, China. Electronic address: xianhua@pku.edu.cn.
2
Department of Aerospace Medicine, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, China.
3
State Key Laboratory of Membrane Biology, Peking-Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences, Institute of Molecular Medicine, Peking University, Beijing, China.
4
State Key Laboratory of Membrane Biology, Peking-Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences, Institute of Molecular Medicine, Peking University, Beijing, China. Electronic address: chengp@pku.edu.cn.

Abstract

Emerging evidence indicates that mitochondrial flashes (mitoflashes) are highly conserved elemental mitochondrial signaling events. However, which signal controls their ignition and how they are integrated with other mitochondrial signals and functions remain elusive. In this study, we aimed to further delineate the signal components of the mitoflash and determine the mitoflash trigger mechanism. Using multiple biosensors and chemical probes as well as label-free autofluorescence, we found that the mitoflash reflects chemical and electrical excitation at the single-organelle level, comprising bursting superoxide production, oxidative redox shift, and matrix alkalinization as well as transient membrane depolarization. Both electroneutral H(+)/K(+) or H(+)/Na(+) antiport and matrix proton uncaging elicited immediate and robust mitoflash responses over a broad dynamic range in cardiomyocytes and HeLa cells. However, charge-uncompensated proton transport, which depolarizes mitochondria, caused the opposite effect, and steady matrix acidification mildly inhibited mitoflashes. Based on a numerical simulation, we estimated a mean proton lifetime of 1.42 ns and diffusion distance of 2.06 nm in the matrix. We conclude that nanodomain protons act as a novel, to our knowledge, trigger of mitoflashes in energized mitochondria. This finding suggests that mitoflash genesis is functionally and mechanistically integrated with mitochondrial energy metabolism.

PMID:
27463140
PMCID:
PMC4968422
DOI:
10.1016/j.bpj.2016.05.052
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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