Biology Seminar | Kasturi Mitra
January 22 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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Title: Mitochondrial structure-function in cell cycle regulation and its implications in health and disease
Speaker: Dr. Kasturi Mitra
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Abstract: During the course of evolution of the eukaryotic cell, the endosymbiotic organelles, mitochondria, were fully integrated into the cellular life cycle. Mitochondria influence processes critical for maintaining cellular life and death as they occupy the center stage of cellular metabolism and energetics, and maintain various homeostatic balances within cells. Furthermore, mitochondria undergo shape change under the influence of various signaling pathways. However, it is not clear how mitochondrial shape change impacts mitochondrial functions. We take an approach of developing novel tools and methods towards understanding such structure-function relationship of mitochondria and how it impacts proliferating cells in mammalian and Drosophila model systems. We learned that mitochondria modulate their shape to alter energetics and metabolism to actively control the cell cycle by modulating cell cycle regulators crucial for proliferation, neoplastic transformation, and stemness. Through this control, mitochondria are able to contribute to the decision-making process of proliferation versus differentiation in stem cells and their progenies. Such mitochondria-cell cycle crosstalk exists in cancer cells and aberration of mitochondrial control of the cell cycle contributes to tumorigenesis. Also, we discovered that mitochondria prime stem cells to enhance their self-renewal and proliferating capacity, which may also involve active control of mitochondria on cell cycle regulators. Detailed understanding of such mitochondria driven priming state of stem cells will uncover strategies for eliminating neoplastic stem cells for cancer therapy, for preserving healthy stem cells during natural aging processes, and for tissue regeneration endeavors.