Research Areas

Mitochondria Research Areas

Alzheimer's Disease
The involvement of mitochondria in Alzheimer's Disease has been known for many years with reduced cytochrome c oxidase assembly and activity considered as an early event in the disease, and reduced cytochrome c oxidase activity has been reported in platelets from patients with Alzheimer's Disease.
Mitochondria are at the center of apoptosis, also known as programmed cell death. Intra-cellular and extra-cellular signals alter the association of a set of cytosolic pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic proteins with the organelle. These include the bax and bcl-2 families of proteins.
Mitochondrial involvement in cancer is at several levels. Genetic alterations in OXPHOS genes can predispose to cancer. Metabolic changes in energy metabolism are characteristic of cancer as tumors switch from an OXPHOS mode to glycolysis, and further, the organelle is a key part of the signaling in apoptosis.
There is strong evidence of involvement of mitochondria in type 2 diabetes, causing or caused by insulin resistance of muscle, insulin secretion from the pancreas and in the complications of diabetes.
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Inborn Errors of Metabolism
Mitochondrial diseases are the result of mutations in the genes encoding mitochondrial proteins, and physical symptoms, which can include seizures, neurodegeneration, and cardiac myopathy, are typically early onset.
Friedreich's Ataxia
FRDA is an inherited recessive neurodegenerative disorder caused by decreased expression levels of frataxin causing progressive damage to the nervous system, resulting in symptoms ranging from muscle weakness and speech problems to heart disease.
Mitochondrial Biogenesis
It has become increasingly important in studies of many diseases, including genetic mitochondrial diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes, and cancer, to determine the levels of biogenesis of mitochondria.
Oxidative Stress
Mitochondria are a primary site of production of free radicals. While more than 98% of the molecular oxygen taken up by cells is fully utilized by cytochrome c oxidase to form water, this enzyme can release partly reduced species. Other enzymes of the respiratory chain, and in particular complexes I and III, also produce partly reduced oxygen species including superoxide.
Parkinson's Disease
An increasingly popular model of Parkinson's disease proposes that the disease is due to a reduced OXPHOS activity caused by damage to Complex I by environmental toxins. This effect is amplified by susceptiblilty to these reagents in some individuals because of mutations/polymorphisms in the mitochondrially encoded subunits of this complex.

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