Related topics: cells · protein · cell death · neurons · brain

Bringing new energy to mitochondria research

Tiny mitochondria in our cells turn oxygen and nutrients into usable energy in a process called respiration. This process is essential for powering our cells, and yet in spite of its importance many of the finer details of ...

A ribosome odyssey in mitochondria

Proteins make life and are made by ribosomes. In mitochondria, the repertoire of the mitoribosomal architectures turns out to be much more diverse than previously thought.

Bacteria's secret weapon revealed

Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) scientists have discovered a previously unknown method used by bacteria to evade immune responses.

Becoming a nerve cell: Timing is of the essence

Mitochondria are small organelles that provide the energy critical for each cell in our body, in particular, in the energy-demanding brain. In this week's edition of Science, a Belgian team of researchers led by Pierre Vanderhaeghen ...

Fireflies shed light on the function of mitochondria

Tiny factories float inside our cells and provide them with almost all the energy they need: the mitochondria. Their effectiveness decreases when we get older, but also when we face many diseases such as diabetes, cancer ...

Imaging method highlights new role for cellular 'skeleton' protein

While your skeleton helps your body to move, fine skeleton-like filaments within your cells likewise help cellular structures to move. Now, Salk researchers have developed a new imaging method that lets them monitor a small ...

Video: Single cells have their own defenses against pathogens

In the fight against pathogens, most researchers have focused on the diverse immune system arsenal that protects people against infection. However, the lab of Yale microbiologist Jorge Galan explored an evolutionarily ancient ...

Revisiting energy flow in photosynthetic plant cells

By developing innovative methods to visualize energy changes in subcellular compartments in live plants, the team of Dr. Boon Leong Lim, Associate Professor of the School of Biological Sciences of The University of Hong Kong, ...

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Mitochondrion

In cell biology, a mitochondrion (plural mitochondria) is a membrane-enclosed organelle found in most eukaryotic cells. These organelles range from 0.5–10 micrometers (μm) in diameter. Mitochondria are sometimes described as "cellular power plants" because they generate most of the cell's supply of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), used as a source of chemical energy. In addition to supplying cellular energy, mitochondria are involved in a range of other processes, such as signaling, cellular differentiation, cell death, as well as the control of the cell cycle and cell growth. Mitochondria have been implicated in several human diseases, including mitochondrial disorders and cardiac dysfunction, and may play a role in the aging process. The word mitochondrion comes from the Greek μίτος or mitos, thread + χονδρίον or khondrion, granule.

Several characteristics make mitochondria unique. The number of mitochondria in a cell varies widely by organism and tissue type. Many cells have only a single mitochondrion, whereas others can contain several thousand mitochondria. The organelle is composed of compartments that carry out specialized functions. These compartments or regions include the outer membrane, the intermembrane space, the inner membrane, and the cristae and matrix. Mitochondrial proteins vary depending on the tissue and the species. In humans, 615 distinct types of proteins have been identified from cardiac mitochondria; whereas in Murinae (rats), 940 proteins encoded by distinct genes have been reported. The mitochondrial proteome is thought to be dynamically regulated. Although most of a cell's DNA is contained in the cell nucleus, the mitochondrion has its own independent genome. Further, its DNA shows substantial similarity to bacterial genomes.

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