Evidence of microfilament-associated mitochondrial movement

T. J. Bradley, P. Satir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The mitochondria in the lower Malpighian tubule of the insect Rhodnius prolixus can be stimulated by feeding in vivo and by 5-hydroxytryptamine in vitro, to move from a position below the cell cortex to one inside the apical microvilli. During and following their movement into the microvilli, the mitochondria are intimately associated with the microfilaments of the cell cortex and microvillar core bundle. Bridges approximately 14 nm in length and 4 nm in diameter are observed connecting the microvillar microfilaments to the outer mitochondrial membrane and microvillar plasma membrane. Depolymerization of all visible microtubules with colchicine does not inhibit 5-HT-stimulated mitochondrial movement. On the other hand, treatment with cytochalasin B does block mitochondrial movement, suggesting that microfilaments play a role in the mitochondrial motility. We have labeled the microvillar microfilaments, which are 6 nm in diameter, with heavy meromyosin, which supports the contention that they contain actin. A model of the mechanism of mitochondrial movement is presented in which mitochondria slide into position in the microvilli along actin-containing microfilaments in a manner analogous to the sliding actin-myosin model of skeletal muscle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-175
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Supramolecular and Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1979
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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