Mitochondria alter their organization, shape, and number through a continuous cycle of fusion and fission. This evolutionally-conserved process not only determines the organellar morphology and integrity, but also modulates various life-sustaining functions of the organelle, such as energy metabolism, redox signaling, autophagy, and apoptosis. Interestingly, during the process of cell reprogramming and differentiation, mitochondria undergo dramatic changes in their structure and function. However, little is known regarding the role of mitochondrial dynamics in the events controlling cellular pluripotency and/or differentiation. Therefore, we are studying the role of mitochondrial fusion and fission dynamics in the regulation of cellular plasticity and differentiation in induced pluripotent stem cells generated from Oct4-EGFP transgenic mice (Oct4-EGFP iPSCs).
Figure: Live cell images of Oct4-EGFP iPSCs (A) before differentiation and (B) after differentiation. Oct4-positive undifferentiated cells are expressing EGFP (green). Mitochondria and nuclei are labeled with TMRE (red) and Hoechst (blue), respectively. Bar = 10 µm.
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