Mesoscale Metabolic Channeling Revealed by Multimodal Microscopy

Res Sq [Preprint]. 2024 Apr doi: 10.21203/


Metabolic homeostasis within cells and tissues requires engagement of catabolic and anabolic pathways consuming nutrients needed to generate energy to drive these and other subcellular processes. However, the current understanding of cell homeostasis and metabolism, including how cells utilize nutrients, comes largely from tissue and cell models analyzed after fractionation. These bulk strategies do not reveal the spatial characteristics of cell metabolism at the single cell level, and how these aspects relate to the location of cells and organelles within the complexity of the tissue they reside within. Here we pioneer the use of high-resolution electron and stable isotope microscopy (MIMS-EM) to quantitatively map the fate of nutrient-derived 13C atoms at subcellular scale. When combined with machine-learning image segmentation, our approach allows us to establish the cellular and organellar spatial pattern of glucose 13C flux in hepatocytes in situ. We applied network analysis algorithms to chart the landscape of organelle-organelle contact networks and identified subpopulations of mitochondria and lipid droplets that have distinct organelle interactions and 13C enrichment levels. In addition, we revealed a new relationship between the initiation of glycogenesis and proximity of lipid droplets. Our results establish MIMS-EM as a new tool for tracking and quantifying nutrient metabolism at the subcellular scale, and to identify the spatial channeling of nutrient-derived atoms in the context of organelle-organelle interactions in situ.

Keywords: cell architecture; glucose metabolism; organelle contacts; tissue organization.

Publication types

  • Preprint