Publication Details

Zhao, H., Ruberu, K., Li, H. & Garner, B. (2013). Analysis of subcellular [57Co] cobalamin distribution in SH-SY5Y neurons and brain tissue. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 217 (1-2), 67-74.


Cobalamin (Cbl) utilization as a cofactor for methionine synthase and methylmalonyl-CoA mutase is dependent on the transport of Cbl through lysosomes and its subsequent delivery to the cytosol and mitochondria. We speculated that neuropathological conditions that impair lysosomal function (e.g., age-related lipofuscinosis and specific neurodegenerative diseases) might impair lysosomal Cbl transport. To address this question, an appropriate method to quantify intracellular Cbl transport in neuronal cell types and brain tissue is required. Thus, we developed methods to measure [57Co] Cbl levels in lysosomes, mitochondria and cytosol obtained from in vitro and in vivo sources. Human SH-SY5Y neurons or HT1080 fibroblasts were labeled with [57Co] Cbl and homogenized using a ball-bearing homogenizer, and the lysates were separated into 10 fractions using ultracentrifugation in an OptiPrep density gradient. Lysosomes were recovered from the top of the gradient (fractions 1-5), which were clearly separated from mitochondria (fractions 7-9) on the basis of the expression of the marker proteins, LAMP2 and VDAC1. The isolated lysosomes were intact based on their colocalization with acid phosphatase activity. The lysosomal and mitochondrial fractions were free of the cytosolic markers beta-actin and methionine synthase. The relative distribution of [57Co] Cbl in both neurons and fibroblasts was as follows: 6% in the lysosomes, 14% in the mitochondria and 80% in the cytosol. This technique was also used to fractionate organelles from mouse brain, where marker proteins were detected in the gradient at positions similar to those observed for the cell lines, and the relative distribution of [57Co] Cbl was as follows: 12% in the lysosomes, 15% in the mitochondria and 73% in the cytosol. These methods provide a useful tool for the investigation of intracellular Cbl trafficking in a neurobiological setting.

Grant Number