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Seminar Series

Wed, 23 Sep 2020 3:30 PM

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Gordon Rintoul, Biological Sciences, SFU

The alien within: mitochondria in your brain

Mitochondria are polymorphic, dynamic organelles that play pivotal roles in the life and death processes of eukaryotic cells. I will be discussing the evolution, cell biology, physiology and malfunctioning of these primordial invaders.  When examined inside cells, mitochondria display great heterogeneity in number, shape and location in the cellular milieu, appearing as large reticular networks in some cells and as small, punctuate, autonomous organelles in others. In many cell types mitochondria fuse, divide and, are transported throughout cells.  The state of these organelles is determined by an amalgam of processes; mitochondrial biogenesis, fission, fusion, transport and degradation. These processes are collectively referred to as "mitochondrial dynamics".   We employ real time live-cell imaging to examine the contortions and function of mitochondria inside cells.  There is a rapidly expanding body of literature which implicates the dysregulation of mitochondrial dynamics in neuronal injury.  I will be discussing the role of changes in mitochondrial dynamics and function, in stroke and a form of optic nerve degeneration known as Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON).