Stage-specific changes in the water, Na+, Cl- and K+ contents of organelles during apoptosis, demonstrated by a targeted cryo correlative analytical approach
Ploton, Dominique et al. (2017), Stage-specific changes in the water, Na+, Cl- and K+ contents of organelles during apoptosis, demonstrated by a targeted cryo correlative analytical approach, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.q2h4s
Many studies have demonstrated changes in the levels of several ions during apoptosis, but a few recent studies have reported conflicting results concerning the changes in water content in apoptotic cells. We used a correlative light and cryo-scanning transmission electron microscopy method to quantify water and ion/element contents simultaneously at a nanoscale resolution in the various compartments of cells, from the onset to the end of apoptosis. We used stably transfected HeLa cells producing H2B-GFP to identify the stages of apoptosis in cells and for a targeted elemental analysis within condensed chromatin, nucleoplasm, mitochondria and the cytosol. We found that the compartments of apoptotic cells contained, on average, 10% more water than control cells. During mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization, we observed a strong increase in the Na+ and Cl- contents of the mitochondria and a strong decrease in mitochondrial K+ content. During the first step in apoptotic volume decrease (AVD), Na+ and Cl- levels decreased in all cell compartments, but remained higher than those in control cells. Conversely, during the second step of AVD, Na+ and Cl- levels increased considerably in the nucleus and mitochondria. During these two steps of AVD, K+ content decreased steadily in all cell compartments. We also determined in vivo ion status during caspase-3 activity and chromatin condensation. Finally, we found that actinomycin D-tolerant cells had water and K+ contents similar to those of cells entering apoptosis but lower Na+ and Cl- contents than both cells entering apoptosis and control cells.