- Mitochondria are very tiny organelles that are mostly found in almost all organisms that are eukaryotic in nature.
- They are said to have a length of o.5um to around 10um and the diameter of around 1um. Powerhouse of cells:
- They are found in cytoplasm acting as the main site for the cellular respiration. The mitochondria generate Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and various organic fuels such as the fats and the simple sugars during the cellular respiration process.
The unique mitochondrial features:
- Double membrane
- Reproduces through the process of splitting itself,
- It contains its own DNA.
- They are sausage shaped.
- They can move around. Besides, sometimes their shape changes and they also divide with time.
- The outer membrane is set in a way that it is very smooth and its main function is to limit organelles.
- Furthermore, it is very permeable to small solutes that include the ions and the molecules. It acts in blocking the passage of some materials such as the macromolecules and the protein.
- In addition, the inner membrane has cristae which are mitochondrial folds. Cristae are shelf like structures. The main function of the cristae is to maintain some part in the cell to remain closed since it does not even allow the passage of any materials whether the small or big. It increases the surface area of the inner membrane for respiration.
- The inner and the outer membranes of the mitochondria divide it into two main compartments.
- The area that is enclosed by inner membrane is referred to as the mitochondrial matrix and it is the place where most of the metabolic processes and steps of the cellular respiration takes place.
- The mitochondrial matrix is semi fluid and is found in the inner part.
- The semi fluid is known as the matrix and its main activity is to facilitate the Krebs and the citric cycle.
- Moreover, it has some dissolved carbon dioxide, water, oxygen and some of the intermediates which are recyclable in nature.
- It also contains mitochondrial ribosomes, the tRNAs and the mitochondrial copies of the DNA.
- The inter membrane space is also said to reflect the cytosol which is the solute composition because it is always permeable to small solute molecules. Additionally, the inter membrane space is said to contain group of the small enzymes.
- In the mitochondrial matrix, there is also an enzyme that plays the roles of catalyzing the metabolic process which takes place during cellular respiration.
Number of mitochondria:
- The number of mitochondria in every cell or organism varies depending on the functions of the cells and the type of the tissue.
- For example, in the sperm cell, there can be many mitochondria while certain algae such as the green algae have very little due to the activity of the cell.
- Therefore, the number can be said to vary depending on the process and function of the cell.
- Mitochondrial in most of the unspecialized cell they are found in the cytoplasm although unevenly distributed.
Inheritance of mitochondria :
- In human beings the mitochondria are said to be inherited from the mother.
- In mammals most mitochondria in the sperm cells are said and proven to be destroyed during fertilization by the egg cell.
- Thus through the mitochondrial DNA that is found in the maternal substances, the research can be done in case scientists want to trace some maternal lineages.
- It synthesizes the steroids and the hems leading to the elongation of fatty acids.
- It carries out apoptosis which is the programmed cell death.
- It plays a vital role in carrying out the regulation of cellular redox
- It stores and releases calcium.
Therefore due to many functions that are carried by the mitochondria, it is said to be the most important organelle in the eukaryotic cells.
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