Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 66, Issue 11–12, pp 1785–1793 | Cite as

Functions of mitochondria: from intracellular power stations to mediators of a senescence program

  • V. P. SkulachevEmail author
Memories of a Senior Scientist


In 1950 s I started in science by showing that non-phosphorylating respiration is critical for survival of an animal at low temperature. Later, in the 1960 s and 1970 s, I took part in verification of Mitchell’s chemiosmotic hypothesis postulating that (i)mitochondria transform energy of respiration to electricity and (ii) uncoupling of respiration represents discharge of this electricity by H+ cycling. Fifteen years ago I turned to a specific kind of mitochondrial respiration which produces O 2 -. , and I came to the conclusion that it plays an ominous role, killing mitochondria, cells, or even organisms. My present task is a “megaproject” with an ambitious goal of minimizing the damaging effect of O 2 -. and stopping senescence.


Reactive Oxygen Species Ubiquinone Permeability Transition Pore Plastoquinone Xanthine Dehydrogenase 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical BiologyMoscow State UniversityMoscowRussia

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