Modulating mitochondrial quality in disease transmission: towards enabling mitochondrial DNA disease carriers to have healthy children
- Dysfunctional mitochondria are recycled by the cell in a process that helps avoid disease; we summarise extending and provide new information about this process, and show -- agreeing with our mathematical theory -- that it can be modulated with drug treatments, providing potentially new therapeutic avenues.
Mitophagy uses "autophagosomes" to remove mtDNA from the cell, but it's hard to observe and measure: our understanding of the process, and how we may influence it to address diseases, is limited. In a recent paper, we summarise current understanding of mitophagy, particularly during early development (of importance for the inheritance of mtDNA diseases). As experiments and models explore the process in more detail, different types of mitophagy (progressing through different pathways) have been identified, as have fascinating "surges" of mitophagy at different developmental stages. In a new paper in Biochemical Society Transactions we discuss how these individual results are helping to build an overall picture of how mtDNA populations are controlled by cells.