Department: Cell and Developmental Biology
Faculty Mentor: Vivian Gama, Ph.D.
Dissertation Description: Identifying the molecular mechanisms of mitochondrial cristae structure
The metabolic profile of cells is heavily influenced by the structure of the mitochondrial cristae compartment, which is the membrane hub of OXPHOS and ATP production. Regulation of energy production is crucial for highly metabolic tissues such as the brain. Although mitochondrial cristae structure is incredibly important, little is known about the molecular mechanisms that determine and maintain cristae structure. However, loss of MCL-1 (induced myeloid leukemia cell differentiation protein) in differentiated cells has been shown to lead to abnormalities in cristae morphology and electron-transport-chain enzymatic function. My project focuses on elucidating the function of MCL-1 in maintaining mitochondrial cristae morphology and function in human neuronal and glial cells.