Three confocal microscopic images of a cell stained with an antibody that detects the protein MAVS (left), Mito-Tracker (center), and an overlay of the green and red images (right) that indicates the mitochondrial localization of MAVS. Images courtesy of Zhijian ’James’ Chen, HHMI at UT Southwestern Medical Center
Three confocal microscopic images of a cell stained with an antibody that detects the protein MAVS (left), Mito-Tracker (center), and an overlay of the green and red images (right) that indicates the mitochondrial localization of MAVS.
Researchers have discovered a surprise lurking inside mitochondria, the power plants that are present in every cell. It turns out that these powerhouses also contain a protein that triggers the immune system to attack viral invaders.
According to the researchers, the new role makes perfect biological and evolutionary sense because it fits well with another function of mitochondria as executioners of a biochemical cascade that causes programmed cell death, or apoptosis.
Jim Keeley | EurekAlert!
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