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Nanoresolution real-time 3D orbital tracking for studying mitochondrial trafficking in vertebrate axons in vivo.

Elife. 2019 Jun 10;8. pii: e46059. doi: 10.7554/eLife.46059.

Authors/Editors: Wehnekamp F, Plucińska G, Thong R, Misgeld T, Lamb DC.
Publication Date: 2019



We present the development and in vivo application of a feedback-based tracking microscope to follow individual mitochondria in sensory neurons of zebrafish larvae with nanometer precision and millisecond temporal resolution. By combining various technical improvements, we tracked individual mitochondria with unprecedented spatiotemporal resolution over distances of >100 µm. Using these nanoscopic trajectory data, we discriminated five motional states: a fast and a slow directional motion state in both the anterograde and retrograde directions and a stationary state. The transition pattern revealed that, after a pause, mitochondria predominantly persist in the original direction of travel, while transient changes of direction often exhibited longer pauses. Moreover, mitochondria in the vicinity of a second, stationary mitochondria displayed an increased probability to pause. The capability of following and optically manipulating a single organelle with high spatiotemporal resolution in a living organism offers a new approach to elucidating their function in its complete physiological context.

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