Cell's power packs came from within: study

Press/Media: Research

Period5 Feb 2010

Media contributions


Media contributions

  • TitleCell's power packs came from within: study
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletABC
    Media typeWeb
    DescriptionA team of Australian scientists has recreated the first formation of mitochondria, which led to the evolution of the complex cells that made up life.

    Their work provides concrete evidence to support one of the competing theories on how mitochondria evolved.

    Mitochondria are present in all eukaryotes - organisms whose cells contain complex structures.

    They produce energy and regulate cell metabolism in nearly all eukaryotic cells and even small defects in mitochondria can lead to serious defects in humans.

    In a paper appearing in today's issue of Science, Professor Trevor Lithgow and colleagues from Monash University in Melbourne, argue their work validates the view that primitive cells developed the machinery to create mitochondria from within.

    An alternative theory had suggested mitochondria evolved from the transfer of proteins from an outside host cell.

    Evolving the first mitochondria more than a billion years ago, Lithgow says the first eukaryotes needed to establish protein import machinery in the membranes of what was a bacterial endosymbiont.
    PersonsTrevor Lithgow