What is mitophagy? It is when damaged mitochondria are removed from the cell by autophagy. The damaged mitochondria end up in lysosomes for their final disposal. This whole process is to maintain and assure proper cellular function. The importance of this biological process is that it has been implicated in disease states such as cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
The figure below shows the effects of CCCP and oligomycin, drugs that affect mitochondrial membrane potential. Through mitophagy induction, the mitochondria-localized MT-mKeima-Red is displayed in red in ratio images showing its localization in an acidic environment (B-B”). The neutralizer NH4Cl is then administered, which forces the entire cell into a neutral environment and the image turns to blue (C-C”). The results agree with findings where the progression of mitophagy causes mitochondria to be engulfed in lysosomes when in an acidic environment2.
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1. Jin, S. M., and R. Youle J. "PINK1- and Parkin-mediated Mitophagy at a Glance." Journal of Cell Science 125.4 (2012): 795-99.
2. Bingol, Baris, Joy Tea S., Lilian Phu, Mike Reichelt, Corey Bakalarski E., Qinghua Song, Oded Foreman, Donald Kirkpatrick S., and Morgan Sheng. "The Mitochondrial Deubiquitinase USP30 Opposes Parkin-mediated Mitophagy." Nature 510 (2014): 370-375.