What is the role of Mitochondria?

What is the role of Mitochondria?

In fact they take up 20% of the cytoplasm of the cell and they are forever changing their shape, they divide, and they fuse to other organelles mainly, the Endoplasmic Reticulum where they facilitate the exchange of lipids.

The structure of the mitochondria is very unique in that it consists of two membranes. Each membrane have very distinct functions and properties. The inner membrane appears as folds and surrounds the internal part of the mitochondria. This is known as the cristae and is a large area in the mitochondria which allows more locations for the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

The production of ATP occurs where electrons are passed through the electron transport chain, pushing protons which are positively charged to produce ATP molecules.

In our adult years we have massive amount of ATP produced daily in fact, 50 kg per day are produced in a healthy person. The matrix of the mitochondria is the space within the inner membrane containing literally hundreds of enzymes that are crucial to the production of ATP.

Now this is just one part of the actions of the mitochondria. NADH which is also known as coenzyme 1 has so many biological reactions and is essential for cellular development as well as producing energy.

GTP is an essential source of energy for protein synthesis as well as gluconeogenesis. Both NADH and GTP are produced in the citric acid cycle. Apart from the energy and enzymes that are produced by NADH and GTP, both play a role in signaling calcium and respond to stress.

The outer membrane is mainly a lipid structure though it does contain porins which are proteins. These porins are charged channels that allow passage way to small molecules to cross over the outer membrane. They work and are similar to integral channels that are across the cell membrane.

The Mitochondria has its own DNA known as mtDNA which is critical for creating the pathways that produce the energy of this very special organelle.

The mtDNA differs very much from the nuclear DNA which is the genetic hub. Nuclear DNA is inherited from both Mum and Dad but the mtDNA is only inherited from the Mother regardless of you being born male or female. There is a gene called cps-6 found in mtDNA which breaks down the process within the paternal mitochondria.

The other unique property the mitochondria has from other organelles is that it has its own ribosomes. Ribosomes have a very important function where in decoding DNA.

So in summery mitochondria uses respiration (oxygen) and glucose or energy to generate ATP, as well as creating enzymes and proteins and regulates cell metabolism.

There is no surprise of the importance the roles the mitochondria plays in our skin and body health. Any mitochondria dysfunction will be the cause of maternally inherited diseases. Add to this the importance the mitochondria impacts how we age and cell apoptosis.

Yours in skin,

Gay Wardle

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