Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Mitochondrial Health

Dr. Li (NIH): Mitochondria act as microlenses in cone cells Mammalian photoreceptors aggregate numerous mitochondria, organelles chiefly for energy production, in the ellipsoid region immediately adjacent to the light-sensitive outer segment to support the high metabolic demands of phototransduction. However, these complex, lipid-rich organelles are also poised to affect light passage into the outer segment. Here, we show, via live imaging and simulations, that despite this risk of light scattering or absorption, these tightly packed mitochondria “focus” light for entry into the outer segment and that mitochondrial remodeling affects such light concentration. This “microlens”-like feature of cone mitochondria delivers light with an angular dependence akin to the Stiles-Crawford effect (SCE), providing a simple explanation for this essential visual phenomenon that improves resolution.


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