Mitochondria are the cell’s equivalent of power stations. A power station burns fuel to build up steam pressure and uses that pressure to drive a turbine linked to a dynamo. This in turn generates electricity. In mitochondria, the fuel is oxidised and builds up a pressure of hydrogen ions (protons). These force through molecular turbines and enable the cell to generate ATP, an energy unit that can be used throughout the cell.
Just as you can work out a power station’s efficiency by seeing how much electricity it produces for each unit of oxygen and fuel it burns, you can assess the efficiency of mitochondria by monitoring the amount of ATP produced for every unit of oxygen used.
Researchers from various departments of the University of Washington, Seattle, compared resting muscle cells from young (7-month) and old (30-month) mice. They found that old muscle used around half as much energy as young muscle, but that the mitochondria used just as much oxygen at both ages. This represents a 50% loss in efficiency.
Carol Huxley | alfa
Progress in Super-Resolution Microscopy
17.12.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Communication between neural networks
17.12.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.
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A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
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A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
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