A possible new role for ATM in maintaining healthy mitochondria
Research Project information
Researcher: Professor Mike Kastan
Institute: Duke University, North Carolina, USA
Project Completion Date: 28th February 2017
Mitochondria are tiny compartments found within cells. They perform different and important functions to keep us healthy. They convert energy locked in food into energy that the cell can use. Mitochondria are often referred to as the powerhouses of the cells. They generate the energy that our cells need to do their jobs.
Previous observations from Professor Kastan’s lab suggested that many of the symptoms in A-T may arise from mitochondrial dysfunction and an incorrect response to metabolic stress. The work carried out in this grant was to try and understand why mitochondria are dysfunctional in cells lacking ATM (the protein which is missing or not functioning completely in A-T), as well as how ATM helps cells respond to metabolic stress.
Several important and encouraging observations have been made. There have also been some unexpected findings which were not the initial focus of the research. These unexpected results have altered how the original key questions of the research were viewed and addressed. Therefore, the work has not concluded and is ongoing. The lab is currently working with collaborators to understand these findings. Their finished work will likely have a significant role in building up the mitochondrial knowledge base in A-T.
There is no published output from this work. This is not unexpected given that work is ongoing and that important scientific findings can take years to come to fruition. Action for A-T will be in regular contact with the lab over the next few years to ascertain the result of this grant.