Xinnan Wang, "Power of mitochondria: being animate and being eaten."
Mitochondria are cellular powerhouses and essential for survival and proliferation. They generate all the energy a cell needs and also participate in the regulations of Ca2+ homeostasis, apoptosis, and hormone production etc. Previously thought to be static structures, emerging evidence paint a completely new picture of mitochondria as dynamic organelles, zipping around cells, undergoing fusion and fission, growing and shrinking in response to myriad cellular conditions including during disease pathogenesis. The accurate allocation of mitochondria in neurons is particularly critical owing to the importance of mitochondrial functions in the distal extremities of neurons. Moreover, damaged or malfunctioning mitochondria in axons and dendrites need to be cleared from the neurites. Defective mitochondria can be highly deleterious to a cell because of their output of reactive oxygen species. Therefore cells balance their energy needs and minimize oxidative stress by regulating mitochondrial movement, distribution, and clearance. I will talk about the understandings underlying mitochondrial transport and clearance, and how the misregulations are implicated in Parkinsonís disease.
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- Xinnan Wang Stanford University