f.l.: First author, Dr. Luis Daniel Cruz-Zaragoza, scientist at the Department of Cellular Biochemistry, UMG, and senior author, Prof. Dr. Peter Rehling, Director of the Department of Cellular Biochemistry, UMG. Photo: R. Yousefi, UMG.

Targeting gene expression in mitochondria

Scientists of the Göttingen Cluster of Excellence Multiscale Bioimaging (MBExC) and the Collaborative Research Center 1190 develop novel strategy to investigate gene expression in mitochondria. Published in “Cell”.


Mitochondria are considered the power plants of cells because they generate energy from our food with the help of oxygen. The machinery required for this is called the respiratory chain. Its central building blocks are formed by mitochondria themselves through the expression of genes of their own genetic material. Malfunctions in gene expression can cause an imbalance of energy production thus leading to severe and often fatal diseases of the nervous and cardiac system. Mechanisms of gene expression in mitochondria are still poorly understood. A team of scientists led by Prof. Dr. Peter Rehling, Director of the Institute of Cellular Biochemistry at the University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG), speaker of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1190, and member of the Göttingen Cluster of Excellence “Multiscale Bioimaging: From Molecular Machines to Networks of Excitable Cells” (MBExC) are now one step further. They have developed a completely new strategy that, for the first time, enables to experimentally alter protein formation in mitochondria. The knowledge thus gained also allows conclusions to be drawn about the development of “mitochondrial diseases”. The technique was recently published in the renowned journal “Cell”.