Equipment & Techniques
Dr Michele Frison is essentially a mitophagy enthusiast, focussing on disease contexts where this quality control system is evaded. During his PhD he studied the role of the anti-mitophagy protein named TSPO, a neuroinflammatory marker used in clinical imaging, in models of Parkinson’s disease and other degenerative conditions. Guided by the question of why mitochondrial DNA mutations persist during ageing and mitochondrial disease, he joined Patrick Chinnery's lab, where state-of-the-art techniques are constantly refined to assay mitochondrial heteroplasmy. Within the lab, he developed protocols for differentiation of heteroplasmic human and mouse pluripotent stem cells down the neural lineage, eventually expanding onto a major project using the tRNA-alanine mouse models of mitochondrial disease.
Mitochondrial quality control
Confocal images of Mouse Embryonic Fibroblasts carrying a mitochondrial DNA heteroplasmic point mutation, expressing matrixQC, an mitochondrial quality control fluorescent reporter. This ectopic mCherry-GFP fusion protein targeted to mitochondria traces quality control events, where specific portions of the mitochondrial network are delivered to the lysosome for degradation.