Mitochondria and its Functions
Mitochondria, as unusual as the name sounds are quite unusual by nature. They are organelles that act like a digestive system which takes in nutrients, breaks them down and generates energy-rich molecules for the cell. The biochemical processes of the cell are known as cellular respiration. Many of the reactions involved in cellular respiration occur in the mitochondria.
The mitochondria are the working organelles that fill the cell full of energy. They act as the power plants of the cell hence called the powerhouse of the cell. Mitochondria could also be defined as small free floating organelles throughout the cell. Certain cells have several thousands of them while others have none because muscle cells require a lot of energy, so they have loads of mitochondria while neurons which are basically cells that transmit nerve impulses do not need many. If a cell is not getting enough energy to survive, more of it could be created so that problem does not arise. Hence, the number of mitochondria present in a cell is based on the organism needs.
The structure of mitochondria is shaped perfectly to maximize their productivity. They are made of two membranes, in which the outer one covers the organelle and holds it like a skin. The inner membrane, on the other hand, folds over many times and creates layered structures called cristae. The fluid contained in the mitochondria is called the matrix. They are special because they have their own ribosomes and DNA floating in the matrix. There are also structures called granules which would control the concentration of ions. The mitochondrion as explained above is surrounded by two membranes and have their own genome. They also happen to divide independently of the cell in which they reside, which would mean that mitochondrial replication is not coupled with cell division. Some of these features are holdovers from the ancient ancestors of mitochondria, which were free-living prokaryotes likely.
To know more about the different cell organelles, visit Byju’s.
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