STED super-resolution microscopy reveals an array of MINOS clusters along human mitochondria

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 May 28;110(22):8936-41. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1301820110. Epub 2013 May 15.


The mitochondrial inner membrane organizing system (MINOS) is a conserved large hetero-oligomeric protein complex in the mitochondrial inner membrane, crucial for the maintenance of cristae morphology. MINOS has been suggested to represent the core of an extended protein network that controls mitochondrial function and structure, and has been linked to several human diseases. The spatial arrangement of MINOS within mitochondria is ill-defined, however. Using super-resolution stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy and immunogold electron microscopy, we determined the distribution of three known human MINOS subunits (mitofilin, MINOS1, and CHCHD3) in mammalian cells. Super-resolution microscopy revealed that all three subunits form similar clusters within mitochondria, and that MINOS is more abundant in mitochondria around the nucleus than in peripheral mitochondria. At the submitochondrial level, mitofilin, a core MINOS subunit, is preferentially localized at cristae junctions. In primary human fibroblasts, mitofilin labeling uncovered a regularly spaced pattern of clusters arranged in parallel to the cell growth surfaces. We suggest that this array of MINOS complexes might explain the observed phenomenon of largely horizontally arranged cristae junctions that connect the inner boundary membrane to lamellar cristae. The super-resolution images demonstrate an unexpectedly high level of regularity in the nanoscale distribution of the MINOS complex in human mitochondria, supporting an integrating role of MINOS in the structural organization of the organelle.

Keywords: MICOS; MitOS; membrane architecture; nanoscopy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Fibroblasts
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods*
  • Microscopy, Immunoelectron
  • Mitochondrial Membranes / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Membranes / ultrastructure
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism*
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Nanotechnology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Vero Cells


  • IMMT protein, human
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Muscle Proteins