Four Methods Helping the Study of Mitochondrial Gene Expression

  • Harboring some circular and small genomes in human cells, mitochondria are recognizable for providing the cell with energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) via OxPhos. However, with mitochondrial studies advancing, their significance was underestimated over the past. For example, other functions, such as apoptosis and the integration of metabolic pathways, have also been assigned to mitochondria.


    As mitochondria exist in almost all eukaryotic cells and are pivotal for all cells, the study of mitochondrial gene expression stands as the most important strategy to uncover its mechanism as well as diseases corresponding to mitochondria. To be more specific, it can provide clues to study the gene function of mitochondria and it also can be employed in the screening of biomarkers of mitochondria-related diseases.


    Lately, some leading scientific institutions have developed comprehensive high-throughput chip technology, in-depth data mining platforms as well as efficient and accurate solutions for the identification of key proteins and genes in mitochondria. The research achievements include but not limit to mtDNA microarray expression profiling, mitochondrial gene chip data mining, key gene & protein verification, and functional gene synthesis.


    • MtDNA Microarray Expression Profiling

    MtDNA expression microarray refers that a large number of mtDNA fragments being fixed on hard carriers such as silicon, plastic, and other hard carriers to make a gene chip. After a series of operations including mRNA extraction, reverse transcription, labeling with fluorescence, and hybridization with the mtDNA chip, the fluorescence intensity of each point on the chip is measured, and the expression level of various genes in the sample to be tested is calculated.


    • Mitochondrial Gene Chip Data Mining

    As a copious amount of data are generated in each experiment and gene chip data analysis is very complex, many powerful mathematical and computational tools are required. Therefore, experts have designed an analysis platform to address the issues. Equipped with many new methods adapted to high-throughput data analysis and processing, the platform can interpret the hybridization message of thousands of gene points on the chip. By screening effective data and clustering related gene expression profiles, the bioinformation of hybrid sites is finally integrated to find the possible relationship between gene expression profile and function.


    • Key Gene & Protein Verification

    With the integrated bioinformatics analysis platform above, experts not only can efficiently and accurately analyze the differentially expressed genes related to the occurrence and development of various mitochondrial diseases but also can screen out key genes and proteins to provide professional guidance for further research on the molecular mechanism of various mitochondrial diseases and the screening of molecular markers.


    • Functional Gene Synthesis

    The synthesis of functional genes means the use of biochemical methods to assemble synthetic oligonucleotides into functional genes, which is one of the means of gene acquisition. Compared with obtaining genes from existing organisms, gene synthesis does not need a template. Therefore, it is not limited by the source of genes.


    From mtDNA microarray expression profiling to functional gene synthesis, these methods accelerate the process of mitochondrial gene expression research and shade the light for the development of mitochondria-related diseases.