Intrafibrillar and perinuclear mitochondrial heterogeneity in adult cardiac myocytes

Xiyuan Lu, Phung N. Thai, Shan Lu, Jun Pu, Donald M. Bers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Mitochondria are involved in multiple cellular functions, in addition to their core role in energy metabolism. Mitochondria localized in different cellular locations may have different morphology, Ca2+ handling and biochemical properties and may interact differently with other intracellular structures, causing functional specificity. However, most prior studies have utilized isolated mitochondria, removed from their intracellular environment. Mitochondria in cardiac ventricular myocytes are highly organized, with a majority squeezed between the myofilaments in longitudinal chains (intrafibrillar mitochondria, IFM). There is another population of perinuclear mitochondria (PNM) around and between the two nuclei typical in myocytes. Here, we take advantage of live myocyte imaging to test for quantitative morphological and functional differences between IFM and PNM with respect to calcium fluxes, membrane potential, sensitivity to oxidative stress, shape and dynamics. Our findings show higher mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake and oxidative stress sensitivity for IFM vs. PNM, which may relate to higher local energy demand supporting the contractile machinery. In contrast to IFM which are remarkably static, PNM are relatively mobile, appear to participate readily in fission/fusion dynamics and appear to play a central role in mitochondrial genesis and turnover. We conclude that while IFM may be physiologically tuned to support local myofilament energy demands, PNM may be more critical in mitochondrial turnover and regulation of nuclear function and import/export. Thus, important functional differences are present in intrafibrillar vs. perinuclear mitochondrial subpopulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-84
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Mitochondrial Ca
  • Mitochondrial dynamic
  • Mitochondrial heterogeneity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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