Direct visualization of mRNA colocalization with mitochondria in living cells using molecular beacons

Philip J. Santangelo, Nitin Nitin, Gang Bao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The intracellular localization and specific organelle association of mRNA may reflect essential functions, stages, and stability, of mRNA. We report the direct visualization of subcellular localization of K-ras and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) mRNAs in live HDF cells using molecular beacons together with membrane-permeabilization and peptide-based delivery. Unexpectedly, we found that both K-ras and GAPDH mRNAs colocalize with mitochondria. Extensive control studies are performed, including the use of fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH), negative-control beacons, and the detection of colocalization of 28S ribosomal RNA with the rough endoplasmic reticulum (ER), suggesting that the mRNA localization and colocalization patterns observed in our study are true and specific. Our observation reveals intriguing subcellular associations of mRNA with organelles such as mitochondria, which may provide new insight into the transport, dynamics, and functions of mRNA and mRNA-protein interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number044025
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Living cell
  • Localization
  • Mitochondria
  • Molecular beacons
  • MRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Direct visualization of mRNA colocalization with mitochondria in living cells using molecular beacons'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this