Live Cell Imaging of Mitochondrial Autophagy With a Novel Fluorescent Small Molecule

ACS Chem Biol. 2017 Oct 20;12(10):2546-2551. doi: 10.1021/acschembio.7b00647. Epub 2017 Sep 21.


There has been a growing interest in mitophagy, mitochondria-selective autophagy, which plays an essential role in maintaining intracellular homeostasis. We have developed a small-molecule fluorescent probe, Mtphagy Dye, for visualizing mitophagy, which was readily synthesized from a known perylene derivative, perylene-3,4-dicarboxylic anhydride. Mtphagy Dye has suitable fluorescent properties for detecting mitochondrial acidification during mitophagy in the long-wavelength region that does not damage mitochondria. Using Mtphagy Dye, we were able to visualize mitophagy with both cases of Parkin-dependent and -independent HeLa cells.

MeSH terms

  • Autophagy / physiology*
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Kinetics
  • Mitochondria / physiology*
  • Mitophagy / physiology*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Optical Imaging / methods*
  • Perylene / analogs & derivatives*
  • Perylene / chemistry
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / metabolism


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Mtphagy Dye
  • Perylene
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • parkin protein