Remodeling of mitochondrial flashes in muscular development and dystrophy in zebrafish

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Mitochondrial flash (mitoflash) is a highly-conserved, universal, and physiological mitochondrial activity in isolated mitochondria, intact cells, and live organisms. Here we investigated developmental and disease-related remodeling of mitoflash activity in zebrafish skeletal muscles. In transgenic zebrafish expressing the mitoflash reporter cpYFP, in vivo imaging revealed that mitoflash frequency and unitary properties underwent multiphasic and muscle type-specific changes, accompanying mitochondrial morphogenesis from 2 to 14 dpf. In particular, short (S)-type mitoflashes predominated in early muscle formation, then S-, transitory (T)- and regular (R)-type mitoflashes coexisted during muscle maturation, followed by a switch to R-type mitoflashes in mature skeletal muscles. In early development of muscular dystrophy, we found accelerated S- to R-type mitoflash transition and reduced mitochondrial NAD(P)H amidst a remarkable cell-to-cell heterogeneity. This study not only unravels a profound functional and morphological remodeling of mitochondria in developing and diseased skeletal muscles, but also underscores mitoflashes as a useful reporter of mitochondrial function in milieu of live animals under physiological and pathophysiological conditions.




Zhang, M., Sun, T., Jian, C., Lei, L., Han, P., Lv, Q., … Xiong, J. W. (2015). Remodeling of mitochondrial flashes in muscular development and dystrophy in zebrafish. PLoS ONE, 10(7).

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