Eukaryotic Cells

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Eukaryotic cells contain many important organelles and without them the cell cannot function accurately. With organelles such as the nucleus which directs cell activity and contains DNA, ribosomes which make protein, the vacuole which is used for storage and in order for the cell to survive; the mitochondria. The mitochondria are often described as the energy powerhouse of the cell as organisms need energy to maintain homeostasis. The mitochondria are found in the cell cytoplasm and are double membrane enclosed organelles ‘which is best known for its critical function in energy production via oxidative phosphorylation, a pathway that generates many more ATP molecules per glucose molecules than glycolysis’ (John Wiley & sons, 2009) [2].
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Mitochondria share many of the same characteristics that their bacterial ancestors also had, mitochondria contain; a double membrane, a proteome and they also have the ability to synthesize ATP through a proton gradient created across the inner membrane. Mitochondria also go through a process where two mitochondria join to form a single mitochondrion which is called fission, and also a process called fusion where a single mitochondria divides into two mitochondria. The mitochondrial structure is controlled by the balance of fusion and fission. Fusion and fission play critical roles in ensuring mitochondrial homogenisation and they also have very important roles when cells go through metabolic and environmental stress. Fusion helps to reduce stress by adding the contents of somewhat damaged mitochondria as a form of complementation [3]. Fusion of the mitochondria is brought about by the process of 3 dynamin-related GTPases which are mitofusin 1 and mitofusin 2 which are both on the outer membrane and also by the optic atrophy on the inner mitochondrial membrane[2]. One of the functions of fission is to create new mitochondria and to control the quality of the mitochondria by facilitating apoptosis during situations of high levels of cell stress and also by removing damaged mitochondria that remain in the cell. Fission is brought about by dynamin-related protein 1 [2]. Fusin and fission play important roles when it comes to mitochondrial diseases and defects. Disruptions affect the development of the cell and have also been conveyed in some neurodegenerative diseases, there has also been some mutations in some of these proteins which leads to neuromuscular diseases. Fusion and fission are also vital for mitochondrial population of the cell, a great example to show their importance is the process when purkinje neurons in the cerebellum

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