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Mitochondria Choked with Proteins Can Activate Gag Reflex

07:14 EDT 16 Apr 2018 | Genetic Engineering News

When the cell tries to stuff too many proteins into its mitochondria, protein blockages and backups may result—obstructions for which no cell-level version of the Heimlich maneuver is available. Instead of putting a physical squeeze on its energy-producing organelles, the cell resorts to another mechanism—mitoCPR, or the mitochondrial compromised protein import response. To discover mitoCPR, scientists based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology induced excessive expression of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial proteins within yeast cells. Essentially, the scientists, Hilla Weidberg, Ph.D., and Angelika Amon, Ph.D., encouraged cells to treat their mitochondria like force-fed geese. Then the scientists observed the results. Upon mitochondrial import stress, cells mounted the mitoCPR response. This response begins with the expression of PDR3, which in turn increases expression of two additional genes that facilitate the clearing of excess proteins. Additional details about mitoCPR appeared April 13 in the journal Science , in an article ...

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