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Assessment of mitochondrial respiratory chain enzymes in cells and tissues

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Amy VincentORCiD, Emeritus Professor Doug Turnbull, Professor Robert Taylor


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© 2019 Elsevier Inc. Measurement of the individual enzymes involved in mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) forms a key part of diagnostic investigations in patients with suspected mitochondrial disease, and can provide crucial information on mitochondrial OXPHOS function in a variety of cells and tissues that are applicable to many research investigations. In this chapter, we present methods for analysis of mitochondrial respiratory chain enzymes in cells and tissues based on assays performed in two geographically separate diagnostic referral centers, as part of clinical diagnostic investigations. Techniques for sample preparation from cells and tissues, and spectrophotometric assays for measurement of the activities of OXPHOS complexes I–V, the combined activity of complexes II + III, and the mitochondrial matrix enzyme citrate synthase, are provided. The activities of mitochondrial respiratory chain enzymes are often expressed relative to citrate synthase activity, since these ratios may be more robust in accounting for variability that may arise due to tissue quality, handling and storage, cell growth conditions, or any mitochondrial proliferation that may be present in tissues from patients with mitochondrial disease. Considerations for adaption of these techniques to other cells, tissues, and organisms are presented, as well as comparisons to alternate methods for analysis of respiratory chain function. In this context, a quantitative immunofluorescence protocol is also provided that is suitable for measurement of the amount of multiple respiratory chain complexes in small diagnostic tissue samples. The analysis and interpretation of OXPHOS enzyme activities are then placed in the context of mitochondrial disease tissue pathology and diagnosis.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Frazier AE, Vincent AE, Turnbull DM, Thorburn DR, Taylor RW

Editor(s): Liza A. Pon, Eric A. Schon

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Mitochondria, 3rd Edition

Year: 2020

Volume: 155

Pages: 121-156

Online publication date: 14/12/2019

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

Series Title: Methods in Cell Biology

Publisher: Academic Press

Place Published: London


DOI: 10.1016/bs.mcb.2019.11.007

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9780128202289