Effect of liposomes on energy-dependent uptake of the antioxidant SkQR1 by isolated mitochondria

J Bioenerg Biomembr. 2012 Aug;44(4):453-60. doi: 10.1007/s10863-012-9449-9. Epub 2012 Jun 22.


The mitochondria-targeted antioxidant SkQR1 composed of a plastoquinone part covalently bound to a cationic rhodamine 19 moiety via a decane linker was previously shown to effectively protect brain and kidney from ischemia injury accompanying generation of reactive oxygen species. In the present paper the energy-dependent SkQR1 uptake by isolated rat liver mitochondria was studied by fluorescence correlation spectroscopy peak intensity analysis (FCS PIA). This approach can be used to measure the number of fluorescent molecules per single mitochondrion. A large portion of SkQR1 appeared to be taken up by mitochondria in an energy-independent fashion because of its high affinity to membranes. Liposomes were found to compete effectively with mitochondria for the energy-independent SkQR1 binding, thereby facilitating, as an "SkQR1-buffer", observation of energy-dependent SkQR1 accumulation in mitochondria. The rate of energy-dependent SkQR1 uptake by mitochondria observed in the presence of liposomes was rather low (minutes) which was apparently due to slow redistribution of SkQR1 between liposomal and mitochondrial membranes. This can explain the low rate of staining of mitochondria by SkQR1 in living cells containing, besides mitochondria, other membrane components (endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi membranes, endosomes, lysosomes, etc.) which can compete with mitochondria for the energy-independent SkQR1 binding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacokinetics*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Biological Transport, Active / drug effects
  • Biological Transport, Active / physiology
  • Liposomes
  • Mitochondria, Liver / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Membranes / metabolism*
  • Plastoquinone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Plastoquinone / pharmacokinetics
  • Plastoquinone / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rhodamines / pharmacokinetics*
  • Rhodamines / pharmacology


  • 10-(6'-plastoquinonyl) decylrhodamine 19
  • Antioxidants
  • Liposomes
  • Rhodamines
  • Plastoquinone