Dr. Alessandro Prigione
31.2: Max-Delbrück Haus (Flachbau)
Mitochondria and cell fate reprogramming
BMBF e:BIO Junior Research Group
We are interested in dissecting the contributing role of mitochondria and energy metabolism in enabling cellular conversion. By building a mitochondria-centered model of cell fate reprogramming and differentiation with a targeted neuronal focus, we wish to unveil the relevance of mitochondrial modulation for cell identity, neuronal commitment, reprogramming, and rejuvenation.
Additionally, we seek to apply the iPSC technology for modeling neurological diseases affecting the mitochondria either directly, such as mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) disorders, or indirectly, like Huntington’s disease (HD). The development of alternative modeling approaches is highly needed for conditions affecting the nervous system, whose understanding has been hindered by the inability to sample live neuronal cells. This is particularly important for mtDNA disorders, which lack viable modeling tools due to the hurdles associated with engineering mtDNA. Reprogramming-derived neurons can be eventually employed as disease-relevant cell type-specific cellular systems for the discovery of novel disease-modifying therapeutic strategies for these untreatable brain disorders.
Our manuscript on mitochondrial disease drug discovery is out in Cell Stem Cell:
Cell Stem Cell Preview published:
Our Special Issue in Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology is out!