Light-Dependent Intracellular Positioning of Mitochondria in Arabidopsis thaliana Mesophyll Cells

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Mitochondria, the power house of the cell, are one of the most dynamic cell organelles. Although there are several reports on actin- or microtubule-dependent movement of mitochondria in plant cells, intracellular positioning and motility of mitochondria under different light conditions remain open questions. Mitochondria were visualized in living Arabidopsis thaliana leaf cells using green fluorescent protein fused to a mitochondrion-targeting signal. In darkness, mitochondria were distributed randomly in palisade cells. In contrast, mitochondria accumulated along the periclinal walls, similar to the accumulation response of chloroplasts, when treated with weak blue light (470 nm, 4 μmol m−2 s−1). Under strong blue light (100 μmol m−2 s−1), mitochondria occupied the anticlinal positions similar to the avoidance response of chloroplasts and nuclei. While strong red light (660 nm, 100 μmol m−2 s−1) induced the accumulation of mitochondria along the inner periclinal walls, green light exhibited little effect on the distribution of mitochondria. In addition, the mode of movement of individual mitochondria along the outer periclinal walls under different light conditions was precisely analyzed by time-lapse fluorescence microscopy. A gradual increase in the number of static mitochondria located in the vicinity of chloroplasts with a time period of blue light illumination clearly demonstrated the accumulation response of mitochondria. Light-induced co-localization of mitochondria with chloroplasts strongly suggested their mutual metabolic interactions. This is the first characterization of the light-dependent redistribution of mitochondria in plant cells.

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