Miniseries: Illustrating the machinery of life mitochondrion*

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Diverse biological data may be used to create illustrations of molecules in their cellular context. I describe the scientific results that support a recent textbook illustration of a mitochondrion. The image magnifies a portion of the mitochondrion by one million times, showing the location and form of membranes and individual macromolecules, revealing the molecular basis of its role in energy metabolism and apoptosis. Results from biochemistry, electron microscopy, and X-ray crystallography were used to create the image.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-140
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


  • Apoptosis
  • Cellular biology
  • Endosymbiont hypothesis
  • Energy metabolism
  • Mitochondria
  • Molecular biology
  • Molecular visualization
  • Programmed cell death
  • Textbook diagrams


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