Division and Fusion in Mitochondria
Mitochondria are essential organelles in many cells. Each component of mitochondria have distinct roles that they must partake in for the sake of the cell’s survival. Mitochondria have their own genetic system that encodes directions for the mitochondria’s different processes. Oxidative phosphorylation, an activity that is necessary to the cell takes place within the mitochondria, along with electron transport. Mitochondria also take part in processes that benefit themselves, including fusion and division (Hales, 2010). Therefore, the processes of mitochondria are important not only to the mitochondria itself, but also to the whole cell overall.
Cellular Biology Knowledge
In order to understand this material, previous knowledge from a cellular biology class is important to have. Prior classes and readings explained the structure and functions of mitochondria. The structure of mitochondria shows that it has two membranes; an outer membrane that is permeable to ions and small molecules because of porins, and an inner membrane, impermeable to ions and small molecules, that forms in cristae in order to increase surface area. Mitochondria house critical functions of the cell, including ATP synthesis through oxidative phosphorylation. An understanding of the composition, membranes, and permeability of this organelle is essential in comprehending readings on the fusion and division of networks in mitochondria and building upon previously studied information. It is necessary to understand key concepts about mitochondria in order to grasp the overall view of this organelle.
In the early 1930s, it was first discovered that mitochondria form interconnected networks of tubules that are fusing together and dividing continually (Hales, 2010), which completely reshapes the mitochondrial distributions in as little as an hour (Youle & van der Bliek, 2012). This connection between mitochondria is important in cell survival because it allows for complementation of genetics when fusion occurs (Hales, 2010). The network also serves as a way to disperse the constituents of mitochondria evenly (Cooper & Hausman, 2013). Along with distribution of mitochondrial components, mitochondrial networks are an important part in meiosis and mitosis because they allow mitochondria to be moved to the new cells created in these processes, as well. Both mitochondrial fusion and division act in response to stresses put on the cell and balance one another, depending on what kind of stress is present (Youle & van der Bliek, 2012).
Mitochondrial fusion is the joining of two mitochondria. This allows them to transfer genetic material and to reconstruct the networks between mitochondria. It also creates a way for the mitochondria to make modifications in order to function more efficiently (Cooper & Hausman, 2013). Fusion aids in relieving stress in mitochondria by allowing the damaged mitochondria to...