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A number of endogenously biotinylated proteins are found in both cytosol and mitochondria of mammalian cells from many tissues, including liver, spleen, pancreas, kidney, and intestine. Therefore, caution should be taken when using the biotin detection system. Endogenous biotin can interfere with staining systems that employ the use of biotin-avidin- or biotin-streptavidin-based detection systems and may therefore result in high, non-specific background staining. Here, we show that this endogenous biotin reactivity can be deliberately exploited and used as a specific mitochondrial marker in both light and electron microscopy as well as for identifying mitochondrial fractions on Western blot.


Journal article


Methods Mol Biol

Publication Date





157 - 170


Animals, Avidin, Biotin, Biotinylation, HeLa Cells, Humans, Kidney, Mice, Microscopy, Confocal, Microscopy, Electron, Mitochondria, Proteins, Rats, Streptavidin