Long-lived proteins in mitochondria of brain stabilize protein complexes

LA JOLLA—Mitochondria are known as the powerhouses of the cell, generating the energy that’s needed to fuel the functions that our cells carry out. Now, scientists at the Salk Institute and the University of California San Diego (UCSD) have taken a closer look at how mitochondria are maintained in nondividing cells, such as neurons, with the ultimate goal of developing a better understanding of how to prevent or treat age-related diseases. The researchers found that many of the proteins in mitochondria last much longer than expected, and that this stability likely protects them from damage. The findings were published October 28, 2021, in Developmental Cell.

“There is longstanding interest in the question of how certain cells in various tissues are maintained over the course of an entire life span,” says Martin Hetzer, the paper’s senior author and Salk’s senior vice president and chief science officer. “One…
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