Detection of Mitophagy in Caenorhabditis elegans and Mammalian Cells Using Organelle-Specific Dyes

Vijigisha Srivastava, Einav Gross*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mitochondria are essential for various biological functions, including energy production, lipid metabolism, calcium homeostasis, heme biosynthesis, regulated cell death, and the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS are vital for key biological processes. However, when uncontrolled, they can lead to oxidative injury, including mitochondrial damage. Damaged mitochondria release more ROS, thereby intensifying cellular injury and the disease state. A homeostatic process named mitochondrial autophagy (mitophagy) selectively removes damaged mitochondria, which are then replaced by new ones. There are multiple mitophagy pathways, with the common endpoint being the breakdown of the damaged mitochondria in lysosomes. Several methodologies, including genetic sensors, antibody immunofluorescence, and electron microscopy, use this endpoint to quantify mitophagy. Each method for examining mitophagy has its advantages, such as specific tissue/cell targeting (with genetic sensors) and great detail (with electron microscopy). However, these methods often require expensive resources, trained personnel, and a lengthy preparation time before the actual experiment, such as for creating transgenic animals. Here, we present a cost-effective alternative for measuring mitophagy using commercially available fluorescent dyes targeting mitochondria and lysosomes. This method effectively measures mitophagy in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and human liver cells, which indicates its potential efficiency in other model systems.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere65337
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number195
StatePublished - 19 May 2023

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