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Development of an alternative mtDNA mutator model for APOBEC1

Stochastic mutations in the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) have been linked to many diseases, and their accumulation has been proposed to act as a driving force in the ageing process itself. For the past 15 years the main animal model used to study this phenomenon has been the ‘mutator’ mouse, harbouring a proofreading defective mtDNA polymerase (POLG). These models accumulate high levels of mtDNA point mutations, but also large and small deletions and mtDNA depletion, causing progeroid (accelerated ageing) phenotypes.

Structure of F1-ATPase from the obligate anaerobe Fusobacterium nucleatum

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the fuel of life, is produced by a molecular machine consisting of two motors linked by a rotor. One generates rotation by consuming energy derived from oxidative metabolism or photosynthesis; the other uses energy transmitted by the rotor to make ATP from adenosine diphosphate and phosphate. In many species, the machine is reversible, and various mechanisms regulate reversal.

Permeability transition in mitochondria

Mitochondria generate the cellular fuel, adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, to sustain complex life. Production of ATP depends on the oxidation of energy rich compounds to produce a chemical potential difference for hydrogen ions (or proton motive force, pmf), across the inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM).

Disruption of the IMM, dissipation of the pmf and cell death occur if the total concentration of calcium inside mitochondria is elevated sufficiently to open a pore in the IMM. It has been proposed that the pore is in the membrane sector of the ATP synthase.

Tenured Professorship for Edmund Kunji

The General Board of the Faculties of the University of Cambridge has recommended that, with effect from 1 October 2019, a Professorship be established for Dr Edmund Kunji (assigned to the Department of Clinical Neurosciences).

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David Sabatini MD PhD delivers the 7th Annual Sir John Walker Lecture

The 7th Annual Sir John Walker Lecture, ‘Regulation of Growth and Metabolism’, was delivered on Thursday, 30 May 2019, by David Sabatini, MD, PhD.

Professor Sabatini is a member of the Whitehead Institute and Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He studies the pathways that regulate growth and metabolism and how they are deregulated in diseases like cancer and diabetes.

University of Helsinki - Silver Medal for John Walker

On 7 May 2019, Nobel Laureate Professor Sir John Walker FRS, FMedSci was presented with the University of Helsinki Silver Medal, the University's highest award, in recognition of his contributions to bioenergetics and structural biology and for advising the University's Institute of Biotechnology, as a member of its Advisory Board for nearly twenty years from 1999 to 2018.

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