Mitochondria are filamentous or granular cytoplasmic organelles present in cells. The mitochondria were first discovered by Kolliker in 1857 as granular structures in striated muscles. Mitochondria (singular: mitochondrion) are organelles within eukaryotic cells that produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which form the energy currency of the cell, for this reason, the mitochondria is referred to as the “Power house of the cell”. Mitochondria vary in size from 0.5 µm to 2.0 µm. Mitochondria contain 60-70% protein, 25-30% lipids, 5-7% RNA and small amount of DNA and minerals.
Mitochondrial Membranes: It consists two membranes called inner and outer membrane. Each membrane is 60 -70 A˚ thick. Outer mitochondrial membrane is smooth and freely permeable to most small molecules. It contains enzymes, proteins and lipids. It has porin molecules (proteins) which form channels for passage of molecules through it.
Inner mitochondrial membrane is semi permeable membrane and regulates the passage of materials into and out of the mitochondria. It is rich in enzymes and carrier proteins. It consists of 80% proteins and lipids.
Cristae: The inner mitochondrial membrane gives rise to finger like projections called cristae. These cristae increase the inner surface area (fold in inner membrane) of the mitochondria to hold variety of enzymes.
Oxysomes: The inner mitochondrial membrane bear minute regularly spaced tennis racket shaped particles known as oxysomes (F1 particle). They involve in ATP synthesis.
Mitochondrial matrix - It is a complex mixture of proteins and lipids. Matrix contains enzymes for Krebs cycle, mitochondrial ribosomes(70 S), tRNAs and mitochondrial DNA.
· Mitochondria is the main organelle of cell respiration. They produce a large number of ATP molecules. So they are called as power houses of the cell or ATP factory of the cell.
· It helps the cells to maintain normal concentration of calcium ions.
· It regulates the metabolic activity of the cell.