MitoTracker Green labeling of mitochondrial proteins and their subsequent analysis by capillary electrophoresis with laser-induced fluorescence detection

Andrew D. Presley, Kathryn M. Fuller, Edgar Arriaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations

Abstract

MitoTracker Green (MTG) is a mitochondrial-selective fluorescent label commonly used in confocal microscopy and flow cytometry. It is expected that this dye selectively accumulates in the mitochondrial matrix where it covalently binds to mitochondrial proteins by reacting with free thiol groups of cysteine residues. Here we demonstrate that MTG can be used as a protein labeling reagent that is compatible with a subsequent analysis by capillary electrophoresis with laser-induced fluorescence detection (CE-LIF). Although the MTG-labeled proteins and MTG do not seem to electrophoretically separate, an enhancement in fluorescence intensity of the product indicates that only proteins with free thiol groups are capable of reacting with MTG. In addition we propose that MTG is a partially selective label towards some mitochondrial proteins. This selectivity stems from the high MTG concentration in the mitochondrial matrix that favors alkylation of the available thiol groups in this subcellular compartment. To that effect we treated mitochondria-enriched fractions that had been prepared by differential centrifugation of an NS-1 cell lysate. This fraction was solubilized with an SDS-containing buffer and analyzed by CE-LIF. The presence of a band with fluorescence stronger than MTG alone also indicated the presence of an MTG-protein product. Confirming that MTG is labeling mitochondrial proteins was done by treating the solubilized mitochondrial fraction with 5-furoylquinoline-3-carboxaldehyde (FQ), a fluorogenic reagent that reacts with primary amino groups, and analysis by CE-LIF using two separate detection channels: 520 nm for MTG-labeled species and 635 nm for FQ-labeled species. In addition, these results indicate that MTG labels only a subset of proteins in the mitochondria-enriched fraction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-150
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Chromatography B: Analytical Technologies in the Biomedical and Life Sciences
Volume793
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 5 2003

Keywords

  • MitoTracker Green
  • Proteins, mitochondrial

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