Mitochondria – The Powerhouse

Mitochondria - The Powerhouse

Mitochondria is an inevitable cell organelle necessary for survival. They are the primary source for the development of the majority of the Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) which acts as the frontline form of energy in the body and involves cellular respiration. 

Mitochondria are always referred to as the powerhouse of cells. It also involves other significant functions such as apoptosis and cell signalling. 

Deep within the complex world of cells lies an extraordinary organelle
that has captured the curiosity of scientists for decades: the
mitochondrion. These small, double-membrane structures hold the key to
understanding how our cells generate the energy required for life
itself. In this article, we will embark on a journey to explore the
fascinating world of mitochondria, uncovering their structure,
functions, and the profound impact they have on our bodies.

It is commonly called the powerhouse of the cell due to its energy production as ATP. It is a large dual-walled sac-like structure. This double-walled sac contains a network of folds known as cristae and a fluid-filled matrix.

Origin of the power 

Mitochondria originated from ancient symbiotic bacteria that were engulfed in the eukaryotic cells billions of years ago. This lead to a mutually beneficial partnership with the host cell which provides accommodation while the bacteria gives energy through ATP production. Over generations, the bacterial ancestors of mitochondria became integrated into the host cell. This is similar to the chloroplasts. 

Energy Production

Cellular respiration is the key responsibility of the mitochondria. It is the process where the cells convert nutrients into energy used for the body’s functions. These usually take place with a series of reactions in the inner mitochondrial membrane. The process of oxidative phosphorylation is done by mitochondria by converting the energy stored in the food in the form of glucose and fatty acids. This derived energy from the food undergoes a series of complex chemical reactions and releases the electrons carries by electron carriers through a protein complex known as the electron transport chain. 

Mitochondria and signalling

Along with energy production, mitochondria play a major role in the cellular signalling known as calcium signalling, which plays a major role in cellular coordination and communication.  
In conclusion, mitochondria are a star in cellular biology, with a major responsibility for energy production and communication. They are the best representation of a symbiotic relationship.  


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