Super-resolution microscopy of mitochondria

Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2014 Jun:20:9-15. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2014.03.019. Epub 2014 Apr 25.


Mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cell, are essential organelles in eukaryotic cells. With their complex inner architecture featuring a smooth outer and a highly convoluted inner membrane, they are challenging objects for microscopy. The diameter of mitochondria is generally close to the resolution limit of conventional light microscopy, rendering diffraction-unlimited super-resolution light microscopy (nanoscopy) for imaging submitochondrial protein distributions often mandatory. In this review, we discuss what can be expected when imaging mitochondria with conventional diffraction-limited and diffraction-unlimited microscopy. We provide an overview on recent studies using super-resolution microscopy to investigate mitochondria and discuss further developments and challenges in mitochondrial biology that might by addressed with these technologies in the future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus
  • DNA / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry
  • Microscopy / methods*
  • Mitochondria*


  • Membrane Proteins
  • DNA