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Mitochondrial morphology and function: two for the price of one!

Lookup NU author(s): Julie Faitg, Tracey DaveyORCiD, Emeritus Professor Doug Turnbull, Dr Kathryn White, Dr Amy VincentORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Mitochondrial shape and function are known to be linked; therefore, there is a need to combine three‚Äźdimensional EM structural analysis with functional analysis. Cytochrome c oxidase labelling is one approach to examine mitochondrial function at the EM level. However, previous efforts to apply this method have had several issues including inconsistent results, disruption to mitochondrial ultrastructure, and a lack of optimisation for volume EM methods. We have used short fixation and microwave processing to address these issues. We show that our method gives consistent cytochrome c oxidase labelling and improves labelling penetration across tissue volume. We also quantify mitochondrial morphology metrics, including in volume EM, to show that ultrastructure is unaltered by the processing. This work represents a technical advance that allows the correlation of mitochondrial function and morphology with greater resolution and volume than has previously been feasible.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Faitg J, Davey T, Turnbull DM, White K, Vincent AE

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Microscopy

Year: 2020

Volume: 278

Issue: 2

Pages: 89-106

Print publication date: 01/05/2020

Online publication date: 11/04/2020

Acceptance date: 27/03/2020

Date deposited: 24/04/2020

ISSN (print): 0022-2720

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2818

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd


DOI: 10.1111/jmi.12891


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Funder referenceFunder name
203105/Z/16/ZWellcome Trust
215888/Z/19/ZWellcome Trust
BB/M012093/1Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
BB/R013942/1Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)