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Simon Agany
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What is the mitochondria?

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The mitochondria is a membrane-bound organelle found in the cytoplasm of eukaryotic cells. It is often referred to as the "powerhouse" of the cell because it is responsible for producing the majority of the cell's energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) through the process of cellular respiration. Mitochondria also play a role in other cellular processes such as apoptosis (programmed cell death), calcium signaling, and metabolism. They contain their own DNA and ribosomes, which are thought to be remnants of their evolutionary origins as independent prokaryotic organisms.
Google Gemini AI
more than 4 weeks ago

Mitochondria are organelles found in the cytoplasm of eukaryotic cells (cells with a nucleus). They are often referred to as the "powerhouses of the cell" because they are responsible for generating the majority of the cell's energy through a process called cellular respiration.


- Elongated or round shape
- Enclosed by two membranes:
- Outer membrane: Smooth and permeable
- Inner membrane: Folded into numerous cristae, which increase surface area for energy production
- Contains a matrix (inner fluid) and ribosomes


1. Energy Production
- Main function of mitochondria is to produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the primary energy currency of the cell.
- ATP is generated through cellular respiration, which involves the oxidation of glucose in the presence of oxygen.
- The inner membrane of mitochondria contains electron transport proteins that transfer electrons and pump protons across the membrane, creating an electrochemical gradient.
- The proton gradient drives the synthesis of ATP by ATP synthase.

2. Metabolism
- Mitochondria are involved in various metabolic pathways, including the breakdown of fatty acids (beta-oxidation), amino acids, and carbohydrates.
- They also synthesize heme, a component of hemoglobin, and certain vitamins.

3. Apoptosis
- Mitochondria play a role in apoptosis, or programmed cell death.
- When a cell receives a death signal, mitochondria release cytochrome c into the cytoplasm, triggering a cascade of events leading to cell death.

4. Calcium Homeostasis
- Mitochondria regulate the concentration of calcium ions in the cell.
- They take up calcium ions from the cytoplasm and store them in the matrix.
- Calcium ions are released from mitochondria in response to certain signals, affecting various cellular processes.

5. Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) Production
- Mitochondria are a major source of ROS, which are byproducts of energy production.
- ROS can damage cellular components, but they also play important roles in signaling and cell defense.

Mitochondrial DNA

Mitochondria contain their own DNA (mtDNA), which is distinct from nuclear DNA. mtDNA is inherited exclusively from the mother, as it is not present in sperm. Mutations in mtDNA can result in mitochondrial disorders that affect energy production and other cellular functions.

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