Mapping Activity-Dependent Quasi-Stationary States of Mitochondrial Membranes with Graphene-Induced Energy Transfer Imaging


Raja SO, Chizhik AI, Schmidt CF, Enderlein J, Ghosh A


Nano Letters


Nano Lett. 2021, 21, 8244−8249


Graphene-induced energy transfer (GIET) was recently introduced for sub-nanometric axial localization of fluorescent molecules. GIET relies on near-field energy transfer from an optically excited fluorophore to a single sheet of graphene. Recently, we demonstrated its potential by determining the distance between two leaflets of supported lipid bilayers. Here, we use GIET imaging for mapping quasi-stationary states of the inner and outer mitochondrial membranes before and during adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis. We trigger the ATP synthesis state in vitro by activating mitochondria with precursor molecules. Our results demonstrate that the inner membrane approaches the outer membrane, while the outer membrane does not show any measurable change in average axial position upon activation. The inter-membrane space is reduced by ∼2 nm. This direct experimental observation of the subtle dynamics of mitochondrial membranes and the change in intermembrane distance upon activation is relevant for our understanding of mitochondrial function.



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