Mitochondria and ageing in model systems

Published on February 28, 2018   44 min

Other Talks in the Series: Mitochondria in Health and Disease

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My name is Aleksandra Trifunovic, I'm a professor of mitochondria genetics in disease and aging at the University of Cologne in Germany and the title of talk is Mitochondria and Ageing in Model Systems.
The Mitochondria are the powerplants of the cells. Without them we would not be able to sustain any kinds of multicellular life on earth. To function properly, our body in each second needs around three times 10 to the power of 18 molecules of ATP, and that means that our mitochondria produce roughly around 70 kilos of ATP every day. Most of this ATP is consumed by central nervous system and brain in our bodies.
So, although mitochondria is considered as this extremely powerful electric centrals of our body, they actually produce and harbor many other different processes that are essential for our body functioning and homeostasis. So among those, we have fatty acid oxidation, TCA cycle, production of different intermediates like for example, iron-sulphur cluster assembly intermediates or heme synthesis intermediates, also some parts of amino acid synthesis are located inside mitochondria.
So, mitochondria are unique in animal cells in the way that they have their own mitochondrial DNA, and this is the leftover of the fact that mitochondria used to be a bacteria that once upon a time invaded a primordial eukaryotic cells. Today, they rely on two different genomes, ones is in the nucleus and is called nuclear genome and one is mitochondrial genome, and in order to function properly they need to coordinate expression of genes in both of these places, and they have to assemble different parts of mitochondria in a very coordinated way. This can be very demanding and very tricky. So, mitochondrial DNA is actually a very small DNA molecule.