Detection of Labile Low-Molecular-Mass Transition Metal Complexes in Mitochondria. Academic Article uri icon


  • Liquid chromatography was used with an online inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer to detect low-molecular-mass (LMM) transition metal complexes in mitochondria isolated from fermenting yeast cells, human Jurkat cells, and mouse brain and liver. These complexes constituted 20-40% of total mitochondrial Mn, Fe, Zn, and Cu ions. The major LMM Mn complex in yeast mitochondria, called Mn1100, had a mass of 1100 Da and a concentration of 2 M. Mammalian mitochondria contained a second Mn species with a mass of 2000 Da at a comparable concentration. The major Fe complex in mitochondria isolated from exponentially growing yeast cells had a mass of 580 Da; the concentration of Fe580 in mitochondria was 100 M. When mitochondria were isolated from fermenting cells in postexponential phase, the mass of the dominant LMM Fe complex was 1100 Da. Upon incubation, the intensity of Fe1100 declined and that of Fe580 increased, suggesting that the two are interrelated. Mammalian mitochondria contained Fe580 and two other Fe species (Fe2000 and Fe1100) at concentrations of 50 M each. The dominant LMM Zn species in mitochondria had a mass of 1200 Da and a concentration of 110 M. Mammalian mitochondria contained a second major LMM Zn species at 1500 Da. The dominant LMM Cu species in yeast mitochondria had a mass of 5000 Da and a concentration in yeast mitochondria of 16 M; Cu5000 was not observed in mammalian mitochondria. The dominant Co species in mitochondria, Co1200, had a concentration of 20 nM and was probably a cobalamin. Mammalian but not yeast mitochondria contained a LMM Mo species, Mo730, at a concentration of 1 M. Increasing Mn, Fe, Cu, and Zn concentrations 10-fold in the medium increased the concentration of the same element in the corresponding isolated mitochondria. Treatment with metal chelators confirmed that these LMM species were labile. The dominant S species at 1100 Da was not free glutathione or glutathione disulfide.

published proceedings

  • Biochemistry

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • McCormick, S. P., Moore, M. J., & Lindahl, P. A.

citation count

  • 23

complete list of authors

  • McCormick, Sean P||Moore, Michael J||Lindahl, Paul A

publication date

  • June 2015