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Sazanov group's research on the front cover of Nature

The structures of the membrane domain of respiratory complex I from Escherichia coli, and of the entire complex I from Thermus thermophilus have been determined. Complex I is the first enzyme of the respiratory chain, and the last component of the respiratory chain for which the mechanism and complete structure were unknown. The structures provide strong clues about coupling mechanism: conformational changes at the interface of the two main domains may drive a long α-helix in a piston-like motion, tilting nearby transmembrane helices and resulting in proton translocation.

Cambridge Science Festival 2010

Working together with designers Rachel Wingfield and Mathias Gmachl, we explored new ways of representing the molecular world at this year's Science Festival in Cambridge. We invited people to colour a 2.20 x 6 metre mural of a mitochondrial network. Children of all ages and adults engaged in this mitochondrial paint-by-numbers event. The first step was, via a computer test, to find out which colour each visitor preferred.

Ian Holt's research on the front cover of Trends in Genetics

The cover image shows a circle representing the 16.5 kilobases of the human mitochondrial genome, superimposed on a cell fluorescently labelled with antibodies to DNA (red) and a mitochondrial protein (green). Aside from the large nucleus that accounts for 99% of the cell’s DNA, there are numerous clusters of DNA in mitochondria, which appear as small red foci scattered throughout the cytoplasm.

On pages 103–109 of the March issue of Trends in Genetics, Ian Holt discusses the art of mitochondial DNA maintenance.

Director's opening remarks

Professor Borysiewicz, Professor Sissons, friends, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this event to mark the launch of the Medical Research Council's Unit of Mitochondrial Biology. "Launch" is an appropriate description that fits the well-known nautical associations with this building. For Borys' benefit, I should explain that the building is known locally as the "Titanic".

Cambridge Science Festival 2009

The Mitochondrial Biology Unit participates in the Cambridge Science Festival every year, and staff and students participating in the development of posters and events are very enthusiastic about it. As something new the posters this year were based on a highly visual design clearly emphasizing the importance of visuals in the research process as well as in the communication process. The posters explain how the body uses energy stored in food to produce ATP.

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