Mitochondria

by: Jennifer Alvarado p-4

Mitochondria

Mitochondria are organelles that take in nutrients, breaks them down, and creates energy molecules for the cell. The biochemical processes of the cell are known as cellular respiration. Many of the reactions involved in cellular respiration happen in the mitochondria. Mitochondria are the working organelles that keep the cell full of energy.


Mitochondria are small organelles floating throughout the cell. Some cells have several thousand mitochondria while others have none. Neuron don’t need as many. If a cell feels it's not getting enough energy to survive, more mitochondria can be created. Sometimes a mitochondria can grow larger or combine with other mitochondria. It all depends on the needs of the cell.

Structure

  • Mitochondria have a double membrane structure
  • There is single outer membrane and a folded inner membrane
  • Sac with two inner compartments, which are separated by the inner membrane
  • The first compartment is between the outer and inner membrane
  • The outer compartment is inside the inner membrane

What does Mitochondria do?

They make energy. Mitochondria are the "powerhouses" of cells, they supply the energy every cell needs to work. If our cells don't have energy, then the tissues or body organs that the cells are made up of don't work properly.

How does it work?

In nearly every cell in the body, Mitochondria are responsible for producing energy (called ATP) that the cell needs to function. Cells make up tissues and organs in our bodies, for example the heart and liver.

Mitochondria

Where does it come from?

Over the years, there has been many debates and discussion about the origin of Mitochondria. They are unique because they contain their own DNA and this has led many to believe that they were once free-living organisms that were taken up and absorbed by bacteria at some point of history.

How it is inherited

It is inherited by the mother.

Nuclear DNA has two copies per cell (except for sperm and egg cells), one copy is inherited from the father and the other from the mother. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited from the mother and each mitochondrial organelle contains multiple mtDNA copies.

During cell division, the existing mitochondria separate randomly between two new cells, then those mitochondria create more copies. As mtDNA is copied, the mitochondria multiply and can create random mutations.

If a few of the mtDNA copies inherited from the mother are defective, the mitochondrial division can cause most of the defective copies to end up in just one of the new mitochondria.

What is Mitochondrial Disease?

When someone has Mitochondrial disease, it means that the Mitochondria in the cells aren't making enough energy for the cell.

Mitochondrial Disease Symptoms

  • Breathing problems
  • Seizures
  • Strokes
  • Developmental delay
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tremors
  • Loss of hearing or deafness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Stomach problems
  • Eye problems

Current treatments

Unfortunately, there are no cures for the disease but there are few treatments. The treatments are to usually help relieve symptoms.

3 People Make Babies?

Yup, you heard correctly. The UK legalized mitochondrial DNA transfers --a process that combines three different sets of DNA to create an embryo. That means one day, it could be possible for children in the United Kingdom to have DNA from three parents.