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Molecular physiology and pathophysiology of mitochondria and energy metabolism
Prof. Dr. Rudolf J. Wiesner and Coworker

Our group is dealing with the question if and how malfunction of mitochondria contributes to diseases and, more generally, to degenerative processes during normal ageing. Mitochondria contain their own DNA molecules which are therefore present in many copies in each cell. Inherited mutations of mtDNA or acquired mtDNA mutations, due to malfunction of nuclear encoded proteins involved in mtDNA replication, lead to severe neuromuscular diseases. Such mutations, especially large deletions, arise as well during ageing in almost all organs. This leads to a tissue mosaic with few cells with a mitochondrial defect, embedded in normal tissue. We examine if and how such a tissue mosaic especially impairs the function of those organs which depend on a well-concerted interaction of all cells within the tissue, namely the brain and skeletal muscles.

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