Magnesium is essential for a wide variety of biochemical reactions and physiological functions, but its regulatory mechanisms (both at the cellular and at the systemic level) are still poorly characterized. Not least among the reasons for this gap are the technical difficulties in sensing minor changes occurring over a high background concentration. Specific fluorescent indicators are highly sensitive tools for dynamic evaluation of intracellular magnesium concentration. We herein discuss the main criteria to consider when choosing a magnesium-specific fluorescent indicator and provide examples among commercial as well as developmental sensors. We focus on spectrofluorimetric approaches to quantify Mg(2+) concentration in cell or mitochondria suspensions, and on imaging techniques to detect intracellular magnesium distribution and fluxes by live microscopy, reporting a detailed description of standard protocols for each method. The general guidelines we provide should be applicable to specific issues by any researcher in the field.
|Number of pages||24|
|Journal||Methods in Enzymology|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|