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Mitochondria

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Mitochondria - "The Power Plant"

Structure and Characteristics

Several characteristics make mitochondria unique. The number of mitochondria in a cell varies widely by organism and tissue type. Many cells have only a single mitochondrion, whereas others can contain several thousand mitochondria.The organelle is composed of compartments that carry out specialized functions. These compartments or regions include the outer membrane, the intermembrane space, the inner membrane, and the cristae and matrix. Mitochondrial proteins vary depending on the tissue and the species.

Function

A mitochondrion (plural mitochondria) is a membrane-enclosed organelle found in most eukaryotic cells. Mitochondria are sometimes described as "cellular power plants" because they generate most of the cell's supply of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), used as a source of chemical energy. In addition to supplying cellular energy, mitochondria are involved in a range of other processes, such as signaling, cellular differentiation, cell death, as well as the control of the cell cycle and cell growth.

Interesting Facts

Mitochondria have been implicated in several human diseases, including mitochondrial disorders and cardiac dysfunction, and may play a role in the aging process. The word mitochondrion comes from the Greek word mitos, thread + chondrion, granule. In humans, 615 distinct types of proteins have been identified from cardiac mitochondria, whereas in Murinae (rats), 940 proteins encoded by distinct genes have been reported. The mitochondrial proteome is thought to be dynamically regulated. Although most of a cell's DNA is contained in the cell nucleus, the mitochondrion has its own independent genome. Further, its DNA shows substantial similarity to bacterial genomes

Click on images to enlarge

              

This is an image of the mitochondria from within the game ("the power plant").

This is a more accurate 3D rendering of a mitochondria.

This is an image taken with a Transmission Electron Microscope depicting a Mitochondria.
Source: The Cell: An Image Library

To see more images of the mitochrondria visit The Cell: An Image Library

All images are in the public domain.

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