Mitochondria Question

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Captain Control
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Mitochondria Question

Postby Captain Control » Thu Nov 05, 2009 6:16 am UTC

Can your cells have more mitochondria than normally are present? Wouldn't that make your cells mutants?

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Interactive Civilian
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Re: Biology Question

Postby Interactive Civilian » Thu Nov 05, 2009 6:33 am UTC

Captain Control wrote:Can your cells have more mitochondria than normally are present? Wouldn't that make your cells mutants?
Short answer: Yes. It depends on the reason for the increase.

Longer answer: For your first question, it really depends on the type of cell and/or organism and how it's mitochondria are regulated. The number of mitochondria might be regulated by the cell cycle such that it is a nearly constant number for most of the cell cycle but increases (up to at most doubling) during cell division. Other cells may regulate the number of mitochondria in their cells based on energy needs and availability, so the number may be different at any given time.

Either way, these changes in number are not necessarily due to a change in the genome (nuclear or mitochondrial) of an organism, and therefore the cells are not necessarily mutants. However, if there is a mutation in any of the genes which regulate mitochondrial growth and reproduction, causing a change in the number of mitochondria, then, yes, you could call such a cell a mutant.
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psychosomaticism
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Re: Biology Question

Postby psychosomaticism » Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:16 am UTC

Yeah, what is 'normally present?' Different types of cells might have different numbers of mitochondria depending on function, like a muscle vs a liver cell.

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Captain Control
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Re: Biology Question

Postby Captain Control » Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:35 am UTC

Thanks, brah. Answered my question perfectly.
I was thinking a muscle cell. I guess any cell could work for the explanations purpose.

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Mokele
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Re: Biology Question

Postby Mokele » Fri Nov 06, 2009 12:50 pm UTC

Number of mitochondria in a muscle cell depends on fiber type. High-speed fibers tend to have few, using all the space for contractile machinery and relying mostly on anaerobic processes. High-endurance fibers have tons of mitochondria, but those take up so much space there's a noticeable drop in force just b/c there's less room for contractile machinery.

So basically, you have uneven mitochondria numbers even within a given muscle of your body (It's extremely rare for a muscle to be all one fiber type).
"With malleus aforethought, mammals got an earful of their ancestor's jaw" - J. Burns, Biograffiti


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