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Welcome to the Mito Lab.


"We walk, We talk, We dream MITO..."


You have reached the faculty research laboratory page of Kasturi Mitra, Ph.D.

Lab Focus

Towards understanding the structure-function relationship of mitochondria in health and disease                                

Mitochondria are the cellular organelles that became the seat of energy production and intermediary metabolism during the course of evolution of eukaryotic cells. They are also crucial players in redox balance, calcium homeostasis, lipid modification and regulation of cell death in various developmental contexts. In various cells mitochondrial structure has been found to be dynamic. They exist in different inter-convertible forms resulting from fission-fusion events between individual mitochondria, significance of which is far from clear. Our long term interest lies in understanding the structure-function relationship of these multifunctional organelles. Currently, we are focused in understanding the significance of mitochondrial dynamism in cell proliferation and differentiation. A set of proteins that govern either fusion or fission of mitochondrial inner and outer membranes have been characterized and it is their activities that decide the steady state mitochondrial morphology in a cell; when fission dominates mitochondria remain as small fragmented elements and when fusion dominates mitochondria remain coalesced into larger hyperfused forms. In mitotic cells the key cell cycle regulators modulate mitochondrial morphology during progression through a mitotic cycle cell cycle, which in turn modulates cell cycle (Figure). We use various kinds of biochemical, cell biological, microscopy and genetic tools to understand if the mitochondrial fission-fusion proteins can regulate cell proliferation, deregulation of which could initiate or maintain tumorigenic processes.

Model Systems

  1. Mammalian cells including cancer cells from various human tumors. 

  2. Drosophila melanogaster

Ongoing Projects

  1. Regulation of Cyclin E by mitochondria

  2. Involvement of DRP1 driven mitochondrial fission in establishing tumor heterogeneity in epithelial ovarian cancer

  3. Role of DRP1 driven mitochondrial fission in ovarian epithelial cell layer development

  4. Effect of high sugar diet on cell proliferation in the absence of DRP1

  5. Real time effect of mitochondrial fission and fusion on energetics


Laboratory protocols will be shared soon. In the meantime, protocols related to our publications can be obtained by contacting us.

Tools and Methods

  1. High resolution confocal microscopy of fixed and live cells and tissues (ex vivo)

  2. Mitochondrial biochemistry

  3.  Drosophila genetics