What are Mitochondria?
Mitochondria are intracellular organelles that have a central role in energy (i.e. ATP) production and act as regulators and mediators of numerous key biochemical pathways. Mitochondrial proteins are encoded by the nuclear genome as well as the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genome, a second human genome with maternal transmission.
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Genetic variations in either genome, as well as the interaction between nuclear and mitochondrial single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) can affect overall mitochondrial function. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that mtDNA can mediate cellular bioenergetics and expression levels of nuclear genes related to complement, inflammation and apoptosis pathways. Due to the complexity of the genetics involved in controlling mitochondrial function, the range of phenotypes observed could vary considerably. The involvement of mitochondrial dysfunction in a wide range of pathologies raises the question of why and how mitochondrial is involved in each illness. Answering this question needs a multidisciplinary team of experts, which lead us to create the Canada Mitochondrial Network (mitoNET.ca). Via this network we aim to foster innovative, groundbreaking research and unify knowledge, to deliver a clear understanding of the role of mitochondrial dynamics and genetics across a broad range of disease pathologies.