Mitochondria, as they are defined in textbooks, are essential for eukaryotic cells--including our own--because they make large amounts of energy as they use oxygen. However, some eukaryotic cells, including important parasites of humans--such as Entamoeba histolytica, the causal agent of amoebic dysentery--live in environments that are too oxygen poor to support this process. Nevertheless, Entamoeba still contains a somewhat mysterious organelle, called a mitosome, that is evolutionarily derived from mitochondria. As reported by researchers this week, the mitosome can represent a surprisingly pared-down version of the much more sophisticated mitochondrion.
In their new work on the mitosome, a team led by Edmund Kunji at the MRC Dunn Unit, Jorge Tovar at the Royal Holloway University, and Martin Embley at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne provide intriguing clues to the function of this enigmatic organelle. They show that the mitosome contains a single type of a protein, called a mitochondrial carrier, that in human mitochondria exists in many different specialized versions. In humans, these diverse carriers are needed to import and export the varied chemicals required, or produced, by our complex mitochondria. The presence of a single carrier in the Entamoeba mitosome means that it must be able to do far fewer jobs than our own mitochondria.
Further experiments performed by the team reveal that the Entamoeba carrier can only transport ADP and ATP, suggesting that it could fuel energy-requiring reactions within the mitosome but might not perform other functions. The work suggests that the Entamoeba mitosome may represent the simplest mitochondrion yet described, and thus it provides a model system for probing which mitochondrial functions are truly essential for eukaryotic cells.
Modern genetic sequencing tools give clearer picture of how corals are related
17.08.2017 | University of Washington
The irresistible fragrance of dying vinegar flies
16.08.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
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