The Mitochondrial EPA: Regulating the Cell’s Powerhouse
Sara Nowinski, '08, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Metabolism and Nutritional Programming, Van Andel Institute will present a talk titled: "The Mitochondrial EPA: Regulating the Cell’s Powerhouse".
Early in our biology careers we learn that mitochondria are the cell’s powerhouses, converting nutrients into cellular energy in the form of ATP. However, this is only one of a myriad of functions that must be balanced by these dynamic organelles. Just like traditional power plants, mitochondria need regulators to perform mitochondrial quality control, preserve the cellular environment, and match energy supply and demand. One such important regulator is the mitochondrial fatty acid synthesis pathway (mtFAS). Rather than supplying free fatty acids to cellular lipid stores, mtFAS builds fats that signal to control mitochondrial electron transport chain assembly and function. In this way, mtFAS acts as a sensor of mitochondrial nutrient supply, and regulates oxidative metabolism. mtFAS is therefore an attractive potential therapeutic target in diseases such as diabetes and obesity, cancer, and neurodegeneration, which all involve mitochondrial dysfunction.