Often referred to as the “powerhouses of the cell,” mitochondria are well known for their role as energy suppliers, but these organelles are also critical for maintaining our overall health. Mitochondrial stress is associated with aging and age-related diseases, including neurodegeneration, but there has been a limited understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind this mitochondrial stress signaling. Now, a study by Scripps Research scientists has revealed an important step in this process. The new study, published August 7, 2023, in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, shows how a mitochondrial protein structure is necessary to activate the cell’s integrated stress response (ISR)—a critical pathway that helps our cells maintain health. The researchers believe this mitochondrial structure, made up of a protein called DELE1, could serve as a target for future therapeutics for age-related diseases.
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