Powering the Cell: Mitochondria* [Animation]
Also read Where Cinema and Biology Meet - NYTimes.
When Robert A. Lue considers the “Star Wars” Death Star, his first thought is not of outer space, but inner space.
“Luke’s initial dive into the Death Star, I’ve always thought, is a very interesting way how one would explore the surface of a cell,” he said.
That particular scene has not yet been tried, but Dr. Lue, a professor of cell biology and the director of life sciences education at Harvard, says it is one of many ideas he has for bringing visual representations of some of life’s deepest secrets to the general public.
Mitochondria* are the energy factories of the cells. The energy currency for the work that animals must do is the energy-rich molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The ATP is produced in the mitochondria using energy stored in food. Just as the chloroplasts in plants act as sugar factories for the supply of ordered molecules to the plant, the mitochondria in animals and plants act to produce the ordered ATP molecules as the energy supply for the processes of life.