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Mitochondrial Fission and Fusion in Glioma’s – cell death sensitization through autophagy control

BY Jurgen Kriel

The study focussed on the effect that autophagy modulation has on mitochondrial bioenergetics in the context of cancer metabolism, entailing extensive characterisation of mitochondrial dynamics and morphometrics. We developed a unique photoactivation protocol that more accurately determines the rate at which mitochondrial fission and fusion occurs. Image processing algorithms were also constructed in Wolfram Mathematica to better quantify the morphological changes within mitochondrial networks. Correlating these data sets with changes in autophagic flux and mitochondrial respiration, we determined that a state of intermediate connectivity exists in mitochondrial networks when autophagic degradation is impaired. During this maladaptive state, brain cancer cells could be effectively sensitized to undergo cell death, indicating the importance of both autophagic flux and mitochondrial bioenergetics in upholding tumour metabolism. 

Stellenbosch University

Photoactivation assay of U-118MG glioma cells. Representative image of mito-PA-GFP transfected cells (60x magnification, scale bar 5?M) with the activated region outlined in red enhanced to display LUT intensities at 0, 1, 5 and 10 minute intervals post activation.

 July 05, 2017
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