Analytical Biochemistry

Methods for imaging mammalian mitochondrial morphology: A prospective on MitoGraph

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Mitochondria are found in a variety of shapes, from small round punctate structures to a highly interconnected web. This morphological diversity is important for function, but complicates quantification. Consequently, early quantification efforts relied on various qualitative descriptors that understandably reduce the complexity of the network leading to challenges in consistency across the field. Recent application of state-of-the-art computational tools have resulted in more quantitative approaches. This prospective highlights the implementation of MitoGraph, an open-source image analysis platform for measuring mitochondrial morphology initially optimized for use with Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Here Mitograph was assessed on five different mammalian cells types, all of which were accurately segmented by MitoGraph analysis. MitoGraph also successfully differentiated between distinct mitochondrial morphologies that ranged from entirely fragmented to hyper-elongated. General recommendations are also provided for confocal imaging of labeled mitochondria (using mito-YFP, MitoTracker dyes and immunostaining parameters). Widespread adoption of MitoGraph will help achieve a long-sought goal of consistent and reproducible quantification of mitochondrial morphology.