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

Detox pathway extends lifespan of the worm C. elegans

A mutant worm with a change in one mitochondrial gene produces more reactive oxygen species (ROS), which can be harmful to cells by causing oxidative stress. However, this mutant worm is able to live twice as long as the ...

How egg cells choose their best powerhouses to pass on

Developing egg cells conduct tests to select the healthiest of their energy-making machines to be passed to the next generation. A new study in fruit flies, published online May 15 in Nature, shows how the testing is done.

Long live Nemo! New animal model in aging research?

The colorful Clownfish lives longer than 20 years in the aquarium. Researchers of the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Italy, in collaboration with the Leibniz Institute on Aging (FLI) in Jena, Germany, have investigated ...

Veritable powerhouses—even without DNA

Whether human beings or animals, plants or algae: the cells of most life forms contain special structures that are responsible for energy production. Referred to as mitochondria, they normally have their own genetic material, ...

How a mitochondrial enzyme can trigger cell death

Cytochrome c is a small enzyme that plays an important role in the production of energy by mitochondria. It is also involved in signaling dangerous problems that warrant apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Using solid-state ...

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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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