Gizmodo Features Das in Story About the Powerhouse of the Cell

Gizmodo recently had a story examining how mitochondria — the powerhouse of the cell — might be a little more powerful and hotter than once thought.

The story is based on a new, but not yet peer-reviewed, study conducted by an international team of scientists–including UT’s Maitreyi Das. The study took the temperature of the cellular batteries and found them to be much hotter than the average human body temperature.

The researchers used human cells as test subjects and loaded them with a temperature-sensitive fluorescent dye called “Mito-Thermo-Yellow.” Once exposed to oxygen, the cells dimmed, demonstrating to the team that the mitochondria were heating up to 50 degrees Celsius as opposed to the body temperature of 37 degrees while completing the cellular respiration process that turns the food we eat into energy.

Das, an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology, told Gizmodo that the paper was exciting, but agreed its findings needed to be taken with caution before it’s published.

If the study’s results hold, however, other researchers may need to review their past work and redo their lab procedures, she said, as the rates of some chemical reactions increase with higher temperatures. Read the story online.