Suppose you are a cell

P. S. Brookes. psb at
Wed Mar 29 12:01:07 EST 1995

On Wed, 29 Mar 1995, Giovanni Maga wrote:

> In article <Pine. at JEFLIN.TJU.EDU>,
> BUONOR at JEFLIN.TJU.EDU (Russell Buonor/Anatomy) wrote:
>>MDbones1 at (Dee Bones) wrote:
>> Suppose that you are a cell with a complete & fully functional set of organelles...
>> Now, for whatever reason you must sacrifice one of those organelles yet
>> remain alive.
>> Which cellular organelle would you give up and why?  What are the
>> consequences???
>> Thanks in advance to all...............DeeBones

> > Let those mitochondria go, ferment and survive at a slower more relaxed pace!
> >
The role of mitochondria usually goes beyond just providing ATP for a cell.  For example, it has been proposed to aid in calcium homoeostasis in myocardiocytes - pretty important I'd say.

Also, any cell requires fairly large "housekeeping" amounts of ATP.  Something such as an hepatocyte gets up to 90% of its ATP from ox-phos.  Up to 15% of this ATP may be used in the maintainance of ion gradients across the cell membrane.  Thus, if you take away the ATP, the cell cannot maintain a membrane potential, so may not be able to uptake simple nutrients such as glucose, thereby substrate limiting anaerobic respiration.

Agreed, mito's are probably more important in some tissues than others.  Certainly in brain, one only has to look at the effects of knocking out mitochondrial Complex I in the substantia nigra - Parkinson's Disease.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Paul Brookes :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Snailmail - Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge,
                      Tennis Court Rd, Cambridge, CB2 1QW.  Tel' 0223 333649
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