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

Nucleoids and the structure of life

( —In the brave new world of three-parent embryos several inherited mitochondrial diseases can potentially be solved. One slightly dubious argument used by its champions to assuage equally dubious traditional ethical ...

The energetic origins of life

( —Imagination is perhaps the most powerful tool we have for creating the future. The same might be said when it comes to creating the past, especially as it pertains to origin of life. Under what conditions did ...

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.

Mitochondria and the art of DNA maintenance

Humans have 46 chromosomes, and each one is capped at either end by repetitive sequences called telomeres. If you ask a biologist if humans have circular DNA, they are likely to say 'no.' That is because eukaryotic cell nuclei ...

MiNT protein a fresh target to attack disease

A two-faced protein in a chain that regulates iron and other elements in cells could provide a new target to treat cancer, diabetes and other diseases.

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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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