Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Mapping Mitochondria
26 October 2015

Mapping Mitochondria

All of our cells, except for red blood cells, contain mitochondriaorganelles responsible for generating the energy we need to function. Faults in mitochondria can thus cause a wide range of debilitating symptoms and conditions such as muscle weakness, vision problems and heart disease. Researchers have recently developed a new way of studying the structure and function of subcellular proteins in live tissue, which is essential for understanding cellular organisation and development. This mapping technique has been used for in vivo [in living organisms] studies on the proteins present in the structure of mitochondria in Drosophila – a type of small fly. Pictured are wing imaginal discs – tissue that will develop into fly wings – with and without the labelling of the mitochondrial matrix, the gel-like substance of mitochondria where proteins are made. The mapping allows different mitochondrial proteins to be identified, and gives insight into the genetics behind various mitochondrial diseases.

Written by Helen Thomas

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