Trehalose loading through the mitochondrial permeability transition pore enhances desiccation tolerance in rat liver mitochondria

Xiang Hong Liu, Alptekin Aksan, Michael A. Menze, Steven C. Hand, Mehmet Toner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Trehalose has extensively been used to improve the desiccation tolerance of mammalian cells. To test whether trehalose improves desiccation tolerance of mammalian mitochondria, we introduced trehalose into the matrix of isolated rat liver mitochondria by reversibly permeabilizing the inner membrane using the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (MPTP). Measurement of the trehalose concentration inside mitochondria using high performance liquid chromatography showed that the sugar permeated rapidly into the matrix upon opening the MPTP. The concentration of intra-matrix trehalose reached 0.29 mmol/mg protein (∼190 mM) in 5 min. Mitochondria, with and without trehalose loaded into the matrix, were desiccated in a buffer containing 0.25 M trehalose by diffusive drying. After re-hydration, the inner membrane integrity was assessed by measurement of mitochondrial membrane potential with the fluorescent probe JC-1. The results showed that following drying to similar water contents, the mitochondria loaded with trehalose had significantly higher inner membrane integrity than those without trehalose loading. These findings suggest the presence of trehalose in the mitochondrial matrix affords improved desiccation tolerance to the isolated mitochondria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-26
Number of pages6
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 10 2005
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Dr. Gloria D. Elliott and Ms. Jennifer Cusick for their expert technical assistance with HPLC. This work was supported by grants from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency/Naval Research Laboratories (N00173-01-1 G011), and National Institutes of Health (GM71345).


  • Desiccation
  • Mitochondria
  • Mitochondrial membrane potential
  • Mitochondrial permeability transition pore
  • Permeabilization
  • Trehalose


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