Christopher Snyder, George B. Stefano
(MitoGenetics, LLC, Farmingdale, NY, USA)
Med Sci Monit 2015; 21:1507-1511
Mitochondria have long been recognized as the main source of energy production for the eukaryotic cell. Recent studies have found that the mitochondria have a variety of dynamic functions aside from the production of energy. It communicates bidirectionally with other organelles in order to modulate its energy balance efficiently, as well as maintain homeostasis, ultimately prolonging its own and the cell’s longevity. The mitochondria achieves this level of regulation via specific and common bidirectional chemical messengers, especially involving the endoplasmic/sarcoplasmic reticulum (ER/SR), deoxyribonucleoside triphosphates (dNTP’s), ATP and the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Its communication network is also involved in stress associated events. In this regard, the activation of the Bax family proteins and the release of cytochrome c occurs during cellular stress. The communication can also promote apoptosis of the cell. When mitochondrial abnormalities cannot be dealt with, there is an increased chance that major illnesses like type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer may occur. Importantly, functioning chloroplasts can be found in animals, suggesting conserved chemical messengers during its evolutionary path. The dynamic capacity of mitochondria is also noted by their ability to function anaerobically. Indeed, this latter phenomenon may represent a return to an earlier developmental stage of mitochondria, suggesting certain disorders result from its untimely appearance.
Keywords: bcl-X Protein, Calcium, Chloroplasts, Mitochondria, Nitric Oxide, Reactive Oxygen Species