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Tools for Assessing Mitochondrial Dynamics in Mouse Tissues and Neurodegenerative Models


Pham, Anh Hoang (2013) Tools for Assessing Mitochondrial Dynamics in Mouse Tissues and Neurodegenerative Models. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/E61Z-9C26.


Mitochondria are dynamic organelles that undergo membrane fusion and fission and transport. The dynamic properties of mitochondria are important for regulating mitochondrial function. Defects in mitochondrial dynamics are linked to neurodegenerative diseases and affect the development of many tissues. To investigate the role of mitochondrial dynamics in diseases, versatile tools are needed to explore the physiology of these dynamic organelles in multiple tissues. Current tools for monitoring mitochondrial dynamics have been limited to studies in cell culture, which may be inadequate model systems for exploring the network of tissues. Here, we have generated mouse models for monitoring mitochondrial dynamics in a broad spectrum of tissues and cell types. The photoactivatable mitochondria (PhAMfloxed) line enables Cre-inducible expression of a mitochondrial targeted photoconvertible protein, Dendra2 (mito-Dendra2). In the PhAMexcised line, mito-Dendra2 is ubiquitously expressed to facilitate broad analysis of mitochondria at various developmental processes.

We have utilized these models to study mitochondrial dynamics in the nigrostriatal circuit of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and in the development of skeletal muscles. Increasing evidences implicate aberrant regulation of mitochondrial fusion and fission in models of PD. To assess the function of mitochondrial dynamics in the nigrostriatal circuit, we utilized transgenic techniques to abrogate mitochondrial fusion. We show that deletion of the Mfn2 leads to the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons and Parkinson’s-like features in mice. To elucidate the dynamic properties of mitochondria during muscle development, we established a platform for examining mitochondrial compartmentalization in skeletal muscles. This model system may yield clues to the role of mitochondrial dynamics in mitochondrial myopathies.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial fusion; Mfn2; PhAM mouse; mito-Dendra2; neurodegeneration; Parkinson's disease
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Major Option:Biology
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Chan, David C.
Thesis Committee:
  • Fraser, Scott E. (chair)
  • Lester, Henry A.
  • Patterson, Paul H.
  • Chan, David C.
Defense Date:31 May 2012
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:09012012-181931478
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7195
Deposited By: Anh Pham
Deposited On:30 Oct 2012 17:35
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 23:56

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