Hybrid Clear/Blue Native Electrophoresis for the Separation and Analysis of Mitochondrial Respiratory Chain Supercomplexes

This article has been accepted and is currently in production


Complexes of the oxidative phosphorylation machinery form supramolecular protein arrangements named supercomplexes (SCs), which are believed to confer structural and functional advantages to mitochondria. SCs have been identified in many species, from yeast to mammal, and an increasing number of studies report disruption of their organization in genetic and acquired human diseases. As a result, an increasing number of laboratories are interested in analyzing SCs, which can be methodologically challenging. This article presents an optimized protocol that combines the advantages of Blue- and Clear-Native PAGE methods to resolve and analyze SCs in a time-effective manner. With this hybrid CN/BN-PAGE method, mitochondrial SCs extracted with optimal amounts of the mild detergent digitonin are exposed briefly to the anionic dye Coomassie Blue (CB) at the beginning of the electrophoresis, without exposure to other detergents. This short exposure to CB allows to separate and resolve SCs as effectively as with traditional BN-PAGE methods, while avoiding the negative impact of high CB levels on in-gel activity assays, and labile protein-protein interactions within SCs. With this protocol it is thus possible to combine precise and rapid in gel activity measurements with analytical techniques involving 2D electrophoresis, immuno-detection, and/or proteomics for advanced analysis of SCs.