Capillary electrophoretic analysis reveals subcellular binding between individual mitochondria and cytoskeleton

Vratislav Kostal, Edgar A. Arriaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Interactions between the cytoskeleton and mitochondria are essential for normal cellular function. An assessment of such interactions is commonly based on bulk analysis of mitochondrial and cytoskeletal markers present in a given sample, which assumes complete binding between these two organelle types. Such measurements are biased because they rarely account for nonbound free subcellular species. Here we report on the use of capillary electrophoresis with dual laser induced fluorescence detection (CE-LIF) to identify, classify, count, and quantify properties of individual binding events of the mitochondria and cytoskeleton. Mitochondria were fluorescently labeled with DsRed2 while F-actin, a major cytoskeletal component, was fluorescently labeled with Alexa488-phalloidin. In a typical subcellular fraction of L6 myoblasts, 79% of mitochondrial events did not have detectable levels of F-actin, while the rest had on average ∼2 zmol of F-actin, which theoretically represents a ∼2.5 μm long network of actin filaments per event. Trypsin treatment of L6 subcellular fractions prior to analysis decreased the fraction of mitochondrial events with detectable levels of F-actin, which is expected from digestion of cytoskeletal proteins on the surface of mitochondria. The electrophoretic mobility distributions of the individual events were also used to further distinguish between cytoskeleton-bound from cytoskeleton-free mitochondrial events. The CE-LIF approach described here could be further developed to explore cytoskeleton interactions with other subcellular structures, the effects of cytoskeleton destabilizing drugs, and the progression of viral infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1822-1829
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011


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