All the power our cells need to live, thrive and survive comes from mitochondria – tiny ‘power stations’ that convert the fuel in our food into energy. Unsurprisingly, problems with these cellular powerhouses cause serious problems in the body. Faults in one of the molecular ‘building blocks’ of mitochondria – a protein called SLC25A46 – have recently been linked to a wide range of conditions affecting the nerves and brain, known as neurological diseases. By studying mice with a faulty version of the gene encoding the mouse version of SLC25A46, scientists are starting to figure out how it affects the mitochondria and causes disease. These images show cells in the retina at the back of the eyeball taken from a healthy mouse (left) compared with the retina of an animal with faulty SLC25A46. By studying these differences in depth, researchers hope to understand more about neurological diseases and also find potential future treatments.
Written by Kat Arney
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (the new name for the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre) the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.