Creative Biolabs

TOM20 Mitophagy Assay: A Gateway to Enhanced In Vitro Neuroscience Research

In the ever-evolving landscape of neuroscience research, unraveling the mysteries of mitochondrial dynamics has emerged as a pivotal endeavor. Mitochondria, often regarded as the powerhouses of the cell, play a multifaceted role in neuronal function, from energy production to calcium homeostasis and apoptosis regulation. Dysregulation of mitochondrial dynamics has been implicated in various neurodegenerative disorders, underscoring the importance of understanding the mechanisms governing mitochondrial quality control.

Among the myriad pathways orchestrating mitochondrial homeostasis, mitophagy stands out as a finely tuned process crucial for the selective removal of damaged or dysfunctional mitochondria. Targeting the translocase of outer membrane 20 (TOM20), a key component of the mitochondrial import machinery, has garnered significant attention in deciphering mitophagy mechanisms.

Creative Biolabs provides TOM20 mitophagy assay services and other mitochondria related assay services to advance researchers' understanding of neuronal mitochondrial dynamics.

Our Services Descriptions
TOM20 Mitophagy Assay Aberrant mitochondrial degradation dependent on mitophagy plays a key role in mitochondrial homeostasis. Creative Biolabs has successfully established a rapid in vitro TOM20 mitophagy assay platform to provide comprehensive mitochondrial function characterization services to customers around the world.
Neuronal Mitochondrial Activity Assay Creative Biolabs has extensive experience in mitochondrial activity testing, and we have successfully developed a variety of assays for mitochondrial activity assessment. Fluorescence assay is one of the most common methods. Other methods have also been applied at Creative Biolabs to further explore mitochondrial activity, such as in situ probing of mitochondria.
Neuronal Mitochondrial Membrane Potential Assay MMP assays that rely on fluorescent probes are useful for probing mitochondrial health, localization, and abundance, as well as screening and monitoring the effects of some pharmaceutical agents. Creative Biolabs provides diversified MMP testing services, especially JC-1 testing.
Mitochondrial Stress Assay A variety of methods and assays for mitochondrial stress detection are available at Creative Biolabs. Fluorescent dye-based assays are a commonly used method to measure mitochondrial stress. In addition, O2 probes also play an important role in mitochondrial stress assays.

Gateway to Mitochondrial Quality Control - TOM20

TOM20, a translocase subunit located on the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM), serves as a pivotal player in the import of nuclear-encoded proteins into mitochondria. Its role in recognizing and translocating precursor proteins into the mitochondrial matrix underscores its importance in maintaining mitochondrial function. However, beyond its canonical role in protein import, TOM20 also emerges as a central regulator of mitophagy.

Hypothetical models for Tom20 presequence binding and translocating. (Su, Jiayue, et al., 2022)Fig. 1 Hypothetical models for Tom20 presequence binding and translocating.1

Mitophagy, a specialized form of autophagy, entails the selective degradation of damaged or superfluous mitochondria to maintain cellular homeostasis. The identification of TOM20 as a mitophagy receptor has unveiled a novel dimension in our understanding of mitochondrial quality control mechanisms. TOM20 interacts with autophagy receptors such as NDP52 and OPTN, facilitating the recruitment of damaged mitochondria to the autophagosome for subsequent degradation.

Recruitment of mitophagy-associated proteins on OMM. (Jetto, Cuckoo Teresa, et al., 2022)Fig. 2 Recruitment of mitophagy-associated proteins on OMM.2

Creative Biolabs offers a full range of primary antibodies against targets commonly used in mitophagy research, allowing detection by a variety of techniques. In addition, we offer customized antibody development services to meet specific customer needs. Below are some hot products.

Cat. No Product Name Clonality Applications
NRZP-0922-ZP4575 NeuroMab™ Anti-Tom20 Antibody, Clone N6778 (CBP15886) Monoclonal WB; IP; IF; IHC
NRZP-0922-ZP3454 NeuroMab™ Anti-NDP52 Antibody, Clone N25373 (CBP14765) Monoclonal WB
NAB-0720-Z1575 NeuroMab™ Rabbit Anti-OPTN Monoclonal Antibody (CBP385) Monoclonal ICC; IF; IHC-Fr; IP; WB; IHC-P
NAB-08-PZ943 NeuroMab™ Rabbit Anti-Human OPTN Monoclonal Antibody (CBP1920) Monoclonal IHC-P; WB; FC
NAB20101733CR Mouse Anti-OPTN Monoclonal Antibody (CBP2659) Monoclonal IF; IHC; WB; ELISA
NAB-0720-Z5460 NeuroMab™ Mouse Anti-MFN1/MFN2 Monoclonal Antibody (CBP3055) Monoclonal WB; IHC-P; ICC; IF; FC; IP
NAB-0720-Z5887 NeuroMab™ Rabbit Anti-MFN2 Monoclonal Antibody (CBP3129) Monoclonal IHC-P; WB; IP; FC; ICC; IF; Sandwich ELISA
NRZP-0423-ZP271 NeuroMab™ Anti-Mitofusin-2 (Mfn2) BBB Shuttle Antibody, Clone N153/5 Monoclonal WB; IHC; ICC
NAB2010354LS NeuroMab™ Mouse Anti-VDAC1 Monoclonal Antibody (CBP2356) Monoclonal WB; IHC-P
NRP-0422-P458 NeuroMab™ Anti-VDAC1, Clone N152B/23 (CBP8559) Monoclonal WB; IHC; ICC
NRZP-0423-ZP458 NeuroMab™ Anti-VDAC1 BBB Shuttle Antibody, Clone N152B/23 Monoclonal WB; IHC; ICC

Principles and Applications of TOM20 Mitophagy Assay

The TOM20 mitophagy assay represents a robust experimental approach aimed at elucidating the dynamics of mitophagy and assessing mitochondrial quality control mechanisms. Central to this assay is the utilization of fluorescently labeled probes targeting TOM20, allowing for the visualization and quantification of mitophagic events in real-time. The assay typically involves the following steps:

  • Cell Culture and Treatment
    Neuronal cell lines or primary neurons are cultured under appropriate conditions and subjected to various treatments, including mitochondrial stressors or pharmacological agents modulating mitophagy pathways.

Below are some of our hot neuron products.

Cat. No Product Name Types
NCL-2108P29 Mouse Hippocampal Neuron Cell Line HT-22 Immortalized Cell Lines
NCC20-9PZ48 C57 Brain Cortex Neurons [Mouse] Primary Cells
NCL2110P059 Mouse Midbrain Dopaminergic Neuron Cell MN9D Immortalized Cell Lines
NCL2110P106 Human Hippocampal Neuron Cells HPPNCs Primary Cells
NCL-21P6-023 Human Neurons Isolated From Human Brain Primary Cells
NCL200502ZP Mesencephalic Tissue-Derived N27 Dopaminergic Neural Cell Line (Rat) Immortalized Cell Lines
  • Fluorescent Labeling of TOM20
    Cells are transfected or transduced with fluorescently tagged TOM20 probes, enabling visualization of TOM20 localization and dynamics within mitochondria.
  • Induction of Mitophagy
    Mitophagy is induced through various means, such as nutrient deprivation, mitochondrial uncoupling, or exposure to mitochondrial toxins.
  • Live-Cell Imaging
    Time-lapse microscopy is employed to monitor changes in TOM20 localization and mitochondrial morphology upon induction of mitophagy. Mitophagic events, characterized by the colocalization of TOM20 with autophagosomal markers, are visualized and quantified.

The TOM20 mitophagy assay has great potential to improve our understanding of mitochondrial dynamics in the context of neurodegenerative diseases and neuronal function.

  • Neurodegenerative Disease Research - Using the TOM20 mitophagy assay, researchers can dissect the underlying mechanisms that lead to mitochondrial dysfunction and neuronal degeneration in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
  • Neuronal Development and Plasticity Studies - Using the TOM20 mitophagy assay, researchers can elucidate the spatiotemporal regulation of mitophagy during neurodevelopment and its impact on neuronal function.
  • Drug Discovery - The TOM20 mitophagy assay is a valuable tool for screening potential drug candidates and evaluating their efficacy in restoring mitochondrial homeostasis.
  • Mitochondrial-Neuron Crosstalk Studies - By analyzing mitophagy kinetics using the TOM20 assay, researchers can elucidate the complex interplay between mitochondrial quality control mechanisms and neuronal homeostasis.

Challenges and Future Directions of TOM20 Mitophagy Assay

While the TOM20 mitophagy assay provides unprecedented insights into mitochondrial quality control mechanisms, several challenges and avenues for future research are worth considering.

  • Subcellular resolution
  • Temporal dynamics
  • Integration with histologic techniques
  • In vivo validation

The TOM20 mitophagy assay is a versatile and powerful tool for elucidating the complexity of mitochondrial quality control mechanisms in neurons. With continued technological advances and interdisciplinary collaborations, the TOM20 mitophagy assay holds great promise in advancing our understanding of neuronal mitochondrial dynamics and paving the way for innovative therapeutic strategies in neuroscience research.


  1. Su, Jiayue, et al. "Structural basis of Tom20 and Tom22 cytosolic domains as the human TOM complex receptors." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 119.26 (2022): e2200158119.
  2. Jetto, Cuckoo Teresa, et al. "Mitophagy and neurodegeneration: between the knowns and the unknowns." Frontiers in cell and developmental biology 10 (2022): 837337.
For Research Use Only. Not For Clinical Use.
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