The discovery of mitochondria as the “power plant” of the cell is among the greatest breakthroughs in the history of cell biology. With more than a century of mitochondria research, we now know that the mitochondria functions in the conversion of food (glucose, fatty acid, amino acid) into chemical energy in the form of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). ATP drives most of the biochemical processes in any living cell, which include protein synthesis, DNA synthesis, cell division, and among others.
Below is the list of mitochondrial functions.
The Functions of Mitochondria
- Production of ATP in two series of reactions: Citric Acid Cycle or Kreb’s Cycle and the Electron Transport Chain.
- Production of heat
- Storage of calcium ions
- Regulation of membrane potential, cell proliferation, and cell metabolism
- Initiation of apoptosis or programmed cell death
- Calcium signaling
- Biosynthesis of heme and steroids
- Metabolic detoxification