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Mitochondria are crucial cellular organelles, with a single human cell containing several hundred mitochondria. The cell components play essential roles in generating most of the cell's energy through a process known as oxidative phosphorylation. The mitochondrial genome encodes 13 proteins that form respiratory chain complexes with other proteins.
"The involvement of mitochondria in carcinogenesis has long been suspected because altered energy metabolism is a common feature of cancer," said Liang. "Furthermore, mitochondria play important roles in other tasks, such as biosynthesis, signaling, cellular differentiation, cell growth and death."
The team found that the mitochondrial genome is an essential component in understanding the complex molecular patterns observed in cancer genomes and helping to pinpoint potential cancer driver events.
"Our results underscore the clinical importance of mitochondria. This study has untangled and characterized the full spectrum of molecular alterations of mitochondria in human cancers," said Liang. "We have highlighted the function of mitochondrial genes in oxidative phosphorylation, DNA repair and cell cycle, showing their connections with clinically actionable genes." Source:
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