Mitochondrial imaging in live or fixed tissues using a luminescent iridium complex

Alexandra Sorvina, Christie A. Bader, Jack R.T. Darby, Mitchell C. Lock, Jia Yin Soo, Ian R.D. Johnson, Chiara Caporale, Nicolas H. Voelcker, Stefano Stagni, Massimiliano Massi, Janna L. Morrison, Sally E. Plush, Douglas A. Brooks

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Mitochondrial morphology is important for the function of this critical organelle and, accordingly, altered mitochondrial structure is exhibited in many pathologies. Imaging of mitochondria can therefore provide important information about disease presence and progression. However, mitochondrial imaging is currently limited by the availability of agents that have the capacity to image mitochondrial morphology in both live and fixed samples. This can be particularly problematic in clinical studies or large, multi-centre cohort studies, where tissue archiving by fixation is often more practical. We previously reported the synthesis of an iridium coordination complex [Ir(ppy)2(MeTzPyPhCN)]+; where ppy is a cyclometalated 2-phenylpyridine and TzPyPhCN is the 5-(5-(4-cyanophen-1-yl)pyrid-2-yl)tetrazolate ligand; and showed that this complex (herein referred to as IraZolve-Mito) has a high specificity for mitochondria in live cells. Here we demonstrate that IraZolve-Mito can also effectively stain mitochondria in both live and fixed tissue samples. The staining protocol proposed is versatile, providing a universal procedure for cell biologists and pathologists to visualise mitochondria.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8191
Number of pages8
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

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