Oncology & Cancer

Cancer cell's 'self eating' tactic may be its weakness

Cancer cells use a bizarre strategy to reproduce in a tumor's low-energy environment; they mutilate their own mitochondria! Researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) also know how this occurs, offering a promising ...

Immunology

Study explores role of metabolism in immune cell behavior

What makes healthy cells change and become dysfunctional to the point of causing disease? In addition to a disruption in genes that regulate cells, there is another factor in cell misbehavior that involves metabolism, say ...

Medical research

Pomegranate compound with anti-aging effects passes human trial

Urolithin A, a metabolite of biomolecules found in pomegranates and other fruits, could help slow certain aging processes. EPFL spin-off Amazentis, in conjunction with EPFL and the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, has published ...

Parkinson's & Movement disorders

Biochemistry shows how the protein MITOL kicks off Parkin activity

Researchers at Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Sciences are reporting new insight into how the Parkinson's disease-associated protein Parkin selects its targets. Cells depend on Parkin to help get rid of damaged mitochondria. ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Intelligence can link to health and aging

For over 100 years, scientists have sought to understand what links a person's general intelligence, health and aging. In a new study, a University of Missouri scientist suggests a model where mitochondria, or small energy ...

Medical research

New way to tackle mitochondrial disease

Diseases affecting mitochondria, the powerhouses of cells, are often caused by mutations in the mitochondrial DNA. Symptoms of such mitochondrial diseases in mice can be ameliorated by increasing their levels of mitochondrial ...

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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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