Omics approach to mitochondrial disease

Florian Schober, a research group in the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, defends his paper, Systems Biology of Mitochondrial Dysfunction, on May 7, 2021.

What is the main focus of your treatise?

Mitochondria are the driving force and central metabolic platform of our cells. Many different organs can be affected at any age if they do not function properly, but it is not well understood how mitochondrial dysfunction causes human disease. Over the last two decades, a new and powerful method called omics has been developed that allows us to measure thousands of molecules in cells in a short amount of time. I explore these techniques and combine them with genetic models of human disease, such as fruit flies and mice, to capture the systemic biological consequences of mitochondrial dysfunction.

Which is the most important result?

We have found that small modifications, methylation and phosphorylation of mitochondrial proteins can modify the function of organelles as a whole. We have seen that the abundance of the amino acid methionine, which is present in most foods we eat, controls the efficiency of mitochondrial energy production. Omics technology is used to uncover new layers of intracellular complexity that extend far beyond genes, RNA, and proteins.

How can this new knowledge contribute to improving people’s health?

Flies models have shown that a group of young patients with mitochondrial disease can benefit from a tuned diet, and this finding may even be important for better targeting cancer cells. Hmm. It is important to carefully test the results obtained from the laboratory model until it is useful in medicine. However, this clearly shows that basic research is a very important step towards clinical application.

What are your future ambitions?

I was thrilled with the idea that large amounts of data and powerful bioinformatics tools could teach us how real biology works. From here, we will move to Professor Matthias Mann’s laboratory at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Munich. Applying your PhD knowledge at the Karolinska Institute to understand how single cells in human tissue interact and answer one important question. Why does the disease affect only certain cells, not others? If we manage to find the answer, we will be one step closer to targeting the most difficult and complex cases of human illness.

New research on mitochondrial function may play an important role in serious illness

For more information:
Systems biology of mitochondrial dysfunction.

Provided by Karolinska Institute

Quote: Omics approach to mitochondrial disease (May 4, 2021) was obtained from on May 4, 2021. Was

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Omics approach to mitochondrial disease

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