Cell Biology

Mitochondria help in dead cell clearance

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Science  17 Nov 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6365, pp. 883-884
DOI: 10.1126/science.358.6365.883-e

When cells in our body die, it is important that they are cleared from the system so that they do not cause inflammation or further death among neighboring cells. Dead cells are cleaned up by phagocytic cells such as macrophages. Wang et al. studied the mechanisms involved as macrophages take up and degrade multiple cell corpses from the circulation. Interestingly, they found that the macrophages needed to have an intact mitochondrial fission system in place if they were to be able to take up more than one cell corpse. Mitochondrial fission was important to ensure that cytosolic calcium levels remained high enough to drive further rounds of phagocytosis. In its absence, mice exhibited compromised clearance of dead cells, which exacerbated pathology in mouse models of atherosclerosis.

Cell 10.1016/j.cell.2017.08.041 (2017).

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