Through the Ages: Exploring Mitochondrial Shape and Function

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a cluster of variously shaded cells, in false color

Ania Puszynska, Margaret Bisher, David Mankus, Abigail Lytton-Jean, David Sabatini

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a cluster of variously shaded cells, in false color

Ania Puszynska, Margaret Bisher, David Mankus, Abigail Lytton-Jean, David Sabatini
Whitehead Institute and Koch Institute at MIT

How does aging affect cellular function? The Sabatini Lab uses electron microscopy to study mitochondria—often called the powerhouses of the cell—and visualize how their number, size, and shape change over time.

Each color in this image marks a separate cell, with mitochondria appearing as bounded compartments within. The variety within and across cells presents possible evidence of a wide range of metabolic activities. Comparing this image, taken of a young liver, with similar images of older livers allows researchers to assess possible mitochondrial defects or dysfunctions associated with aging.

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Ania Puszynska shares the story behind her award-winning image.