Vajrala V. S., Suraniti E., Garrigue P., Goudeau B., Rigoulet M., Devin A., Sojic N., Arbault S.
Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 2014, 406, 931-941. Forefront Paper

Microsystems based on microwell arrays have been widely used for studies on single living cells. In this work, we focused on the subcellular level in order to monitor biological responses directly on individual organelles. Consequently, we developed microwell arrays for the entrapment and fluorescence microscopy of single isolated organelles, mitochondria herein. Highly dense arrays of 3-μm mean diameter wells were obtained by wet chemical etching of optical fiber bundles. Favorable conditions for the stable entrapment of individual mitochondria within a majority of microwells were found. Owing to NADH auto-fluorescence, the metabolic status of each mitochondrion was analyzed at resting state (Stage 1), then following the addition of a respiratory substrate (Stage 2), ethanol herein, and of a respiratory inhibitor (Stage 3), antimycin A. Mean levels of mitochondrial NADH were increased by 29% and 35% under Stages 2 and 3, respectively. We showed that mitochondrial ability to generate higher levels of NADH (i.e., its metabolic performance) is not correlated either to the initial energetic state or to the respective size of each mitochondrion. This study demonstrates that microwell arrays allow metabolic studies on populations of isolated mitochondria with a single organelle resolution.