Rhodamine 123 as a probe of transmembrane potential in isolated rat-liver mitochondria: spectral and metabolic properties.
The spectral and metabolic properties of Rhodamine 123, a fluorescent cationic dye used to label mitochondria in living cells, were investigated in suspensions of isolated rat-liver mitochondria. A red shift of Rhodamine 123 absorbance and fluorescence occurred following mitochondrial energization. Fluorescence quenching of as much as 75% also occurred. The red shift and quenching varied linearly with the potassium diffusion potential, but did not respond to delta pH. These energy-linked changes were accompanied by dye uptake into the matrix space. Concentration ratios, in-to-out, approached 4000:1. A large fraction of internalized dye was bound. At concentrations higher than those needed to record these spectral changes, Rhodamine 123 inhibited ADP-stimulated (State 3) respiration of mitochondria (Ki = 12 microM) and ATPase activity of inverted inner membrane vesicles (Ki = 126 microM) and partially purified F1-ATPase (Ki = 177 microM). The smaller Ki for coupled mitochondria was accounted for by energy-dependent Rhodamine 123 uptake into the matrix. Above about 20 nmol/mg protein (10 microM), Rhodamine 123 caused rapid swelling of energized mitochondria. Effects on electron-transfer reactions and coupling were small or negligible even at the highest Rhodamine 123 concentrations employed. delta psi-dependent Rhodamine 123 uptake together with Rhodamine 123 binding account for the intense fluorescent staining of mitochondria in living cells. Inhibition of mitochondria ATPase likely accounts for the cytotoxicity of Rhodamine 123. At concentrations which do not inhibit mitochondrial function, Rhodamine 123 is a sensitive and specific probe of delta psi in isolated mitochondria.
Emaus, RK; Grunwald, R; Lemasters, JJ
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