Mitochondria are composed of double membranes, cristae, and unique DNA (mtDNA), and are inherited from parent to progeny by fission and distribution during mitosis and meiosis. The mitochondrial nucleoid is composed of a set of DNA-binding core proteins involved in mtDNA maintenance and transcription.
The size and shape of mitochondria are highly variable between organisms. An advanced TEM technology, the reconstruction of a 3D image from a series of TEM images, provides many insights into the structural differences between mitochondria in different cell types. Fluorescence microscopy is an excellent methodology for analyzing mitochondrial dynamics. The staining of mtDNA with double-stranded DNA-specific fluorescence dyes is a good method to visualize mitochondria in cells, and allows tracking of mtDNA dynamics during several biological processes. Green fluorescent protein (GFP) tags can also be used to visualize proteins in living cells, and this has been a useful tool in research on mitochondria dynamics.
Plants perform two vital functions: photosynthesis, the fixation of solar energy to chemical energy in the form of glucose, which takes place in chloroplasts, and respiration, the use of oxygen and glucose to generate energy for cellular metabolic processes, which takes place in mitochondria. Mitochondria also play crucial roles in many other aspects of plant development and performance, and possess an array of unique properties which allow them to interact with the specialized components of plant cell metabolism.
The nine figures selected for this chapter illustrate the aspects of mitochondrial function mentioned above in fungi, algae, and plants.
KeywordsMitochondrial Fission Mitochondrial Dynamic Onion Epidermal Cell Euglena Gracilis Mitochondrial Network
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