*To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received February 18, 2019; Revised June 6, 2019; Accepted June 17, 2019
Uncouplers of oxidative phosphorylation in mitochondria, which have been essential in elucidating the basic principles of cell bioenergetics, have recently attracted a considerable interest as compounds with therapeutic, e.g., neuroprotective, properties. Here, we report the effect of mitofluorescein (mitoFluo), a new protonophoric uncoupler representing a conjugate of fluorescein with decyl(triphenyl)phosphonium, on the electrical activity of neurons fromLymnaea stagnalis. Incubation with mitoFluo in the dark led to a decrease in the absolute value of the resting membrane potential (RMP) of the neurons and alterations in their spike activity, such as spike broadening, spike amplitude reduction, and increase in the spike frequency. Prolonged incubation at high (tens micromoles) mitoFluo concentrations resulted in complete suppression of neuronal electrical activity. The effect of mitoFluo on the neurons was qualitatively similar to that of the classical mitochondrial uncoupler carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone but manifested itself after much longer incubation and at higher concentrations. The distinctive feature of mitoFluo is its light-induced effect on the electrical activity of neurons. Changes in the parameters of the neuronal activity upon illumination in the presence of mitoFluo were similar to the light-induced effects of the well-known photosensitizer Rose Bengal, although less pronounced. It was suggested that the effects of mitoFluo on the electrical activity of neurons, both as a mitochondrial uncoupler and a photosensitizer, are mediated by the changes in the cytoplasmic calcium concentration.
KEY WORDS: neuron, membrane potential, action potential, uncoupler, protonophore, mitochondria