Rat liver mitochondria allowed to accumulate maximal amounts of Ca++ and HPO4= ions from the suspending medium in vitro during respiration have a considerably higher specific gravity than normal mitochondria and may be easily separated from the latter by isopycnic centrifugation in density gradients of sucrose or cesium chloride. When the mitochondria are allowed to accumulate less than maximal amounts of Ca++ and HPO4= from the medium, they have intermediate specific gravities which are roughly proportional to their content of calcium phosphate. Maximally "loaded" mitochondria are relatively homogeneous with respect to specific gravity. Correlated biochemical and electron microscopic studies show that Ca++-loaded mitochondria contain numerous dense granules, of which some 85 per cent are over 500 A in diameter. These granules are electron-opaque not only following fixation and staining with heavy metal reagents, but also following fixation with formaldehyde, demonstrating that the characteristic granules in Ca++-loaded mitochondria have intrinsic electron-opacity. The dense granules are almost always located within the inner compartment of the mitochondria and not in the space between the inner and outer membranes. They are frequently located at or near the cristae and they often show electron-transparent "cores." Such granules appear to be made up of clusters of smaller dense particles, but preliminary x-ray diffraction analysis and electron diffraction studies have revealed no evidence of crystallinity in the deposits. The electron-opaque granules decrease in number when the Ca++-loaded mitochondria are incubated with 2,4-dinitrophenol; simultaneously there is discharge of Ca++ and phosphate from the mitochondria into the medium.
EFFECT OF ACTIVE ACCUMULATION OF CALCIUM AND PHOSPHATE IONS ON THE STRUCTURE OF RAT LIVER MITOCHONDRIA
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John W. Greenawalt, Carlo S. Rossi, Albert L. Lehninger; EFFECT OF ACTIVE ACCUMULATION OF CALCIUM AND PHOSPHATE IONS ON THE STRUCTURE OF RAT LIVER MITOCHONDRIA . J Cell Biol 1 October 1964; 23 (1): 21–38. doi: https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.23.1.21
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