Changes in mitochondrial mass, membrane potential, and cellular adenosine triphosphate content during the cell cycle of human leukemic (HL-60) cells
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Oxidative phosphorylation within the inner mitochondrial membrane generates the majority of cellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP) required for normal physiological functions (including regulation of cell volume and solute concentration, maintenance of cellular architecture, and synthesis of essential macromolecules). Its efficient functioning depends on the maintenance of an electrochemical gradient and is tightly coupled to the energetic demands of the cell and/or tissue. Commitment to and completion of the cell division cycle are sensitive to changes in the availability of mitochondrially derived ATP, although the relationship between cell cycle and mitochondrial physiology is poorly understood. Using vital, mitochondrial-specific fluorochromes to differentiate between mitochondrial mass (10-N-nonyl acridine orange) and mitochondrial membrane potential (Rhodamine 123), together with a quantification of total cellular ATP levels, it was possible to generate profiles of these mitochondrial characteristics in HL-60 cells at different stages of their cell cycle. The data suggest that the availability of ATP changes in a cell cycle-specific manner and cannot be predicted by changes in mitochondrial mass or membrane potential. Furthermore, transition points in the cell cycle where ATP availability is low with respect to the amount of functional inner mitochondrial membrane have been observed. We suggest that these cell cycle phase transitions are sensitive to inhibition of mitochondrial activity because the basal levels of available ATP at these points are nearer to a theoretical "minimal threshold" below which cell cycle progression is inhibited.
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