Quantitative mitochondrial DNA copy number determination using droplet digital PCR with single cell resolution: A focus on aging and cancer

Ryan O’Hara, Enzo Tedone, Andrew Ludlow, Ejun Huang, Beatrice Arosio, Daniela Mari, Jerry W. Shay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Mitochondria are involved in a number of diverse cellular functions, including energy production, metabolic regulation, apoptosis, calcium homeostasis, cell proliferation and motility as well as free radical generation. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is present at hundreds to thousands of copies per cell in a tissue-specific manner. Importantly, mtDNA copy number also varies during aging and disease progression and therefore might be considered as a biomarker that mirrors alterations within the human body. Here we present a new quantitative, highly sensitive droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) method (ddMDM; droplet digital mitochondrial DNA measurement) to measure mtDNA copy number not only from cell populations but also from single cells. Our developed assay can generate data in as little as 3 hours, is optimized for 96-well plates and also allows the direct use of cell lysates without the need for DNA purification or nuclear reference genes. Importantly, we show that ddMDM is able to detect differences between samples whose mtDNA copy number was close enough as to be indistinguishable by other commonly used mtDNA quantitation methods. By utilizing ddMDM, we show quantitative changes in mtDNA content per cell across a wide variety of physiological contexts including cancer progression, cell cycle progression, human T cell activation, and human aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 16 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

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