Mitochondria are known as the powerhouse of the cell.
What are Mitochondria?
Mitochondria are a double-membrane-bound, bean-shaped, colourless organelle found in all types of aerobic organisms such as plants, animals and other eukaryotic organisms. They are free-floating organelles found within the cytoplasm, which functions as a digestive system of the cell. They play a major role in breaking down the nutrients and generate energy-rich molecules for the cell. Several biochemical reactions associated with the cellular respiration take place within the mitochondria.
The term ‘mitochondrion’ was derived from a Greek word which means threadlike granules and was first described by German pathologist -Richard Altmann in the year 1890.
There are about ten to twenty lakhs of mitochondria present in each cell. According to the studies and research, the mitochondria cell organelles are normally inherited exclusively from the mother. There are more interesting and unbelievable facts about mitochondria, which have been described below pointwise.
Explore more: Mitochondria
Interesting Facts about Mitochondria
Mitochondria are called the powerhouse of the cell, as these cell organelles are responsible for producing ATP molecules, the energy currency of the cell.
Mitochondria are a rod-shaped, double-membrane cell organelle, with a distinct structure and specialized functions. These organelles are found both in both animal cells and plant cells by producing energy for the cellular activities.
Like ribosomes, these cell organelles are also able to produce or manufacture proteins, which are required for the production of ATP molecules, an energy currency of the cell by the breakdown of sugar molecules.
The total number of mitochondria in a cell varies with their energy requirement. Cells that require more energy to complete their metabolism will have especially high numbers of mitochondria.
Muscle cells are the only cells with more number of mitochondria. This is mainly because the muscles require more energy for their mobility and other muscular activities. The required energy is supplied by the mitochondria.
Explore more: Metabolism and Metabolic Pathways
The programmed cell death, also called Apoptosis, generally begins from mitochondria. Other specialized functions include apoptosis, controlling the cell cycle, cell growth and detoxifying ammonia in the liver cells.
Any irregularity in the functioning of mitochondria can have a direct effect on human health. The symptoms of mitochondrial disorders vary from person to person. Alpers disease, Barth syndrome are examples of mitochondrial disorders.
Mitochondria are quite similar to some bacteria. Because these cell organelles have their own DNA located in the matrix and they also comprise a double-layered membrane composed of lipids, just like a prokaryotes membrane.
The total number of mitochondria per cell varies. Red blood cells are the only cells in the human body which lack mitochondria. Other cells including liver cells, muscle cells comprise hundreds to thousands of mitochondria.
The size and shapes of mitochondria vary with their functions. Based on the energy requirement by the cells, mitochondria change shapes and respond quickly. When the cell needs more energy, the mitochondria reproduce by growing larger and then divides. When the cell needs less energy, some mitochondria become inactive or die.
Also Refer: Structure of Mitochondria