Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Robert Gilkerson

Second Advisor

Dr. Megan Keniry

Third Advisor

Dr. Nirakar Sahoo


This thesis explores mitochondrial dynamics in the AC16 cardiomyocytes. Mitochondria are capable of fission and fusion, controlled by specific proteins that respond to cell stress. The transmembrane potential(∆ψm) of the mitochondria is responsible for both bioenergetic functions and regulating the activation of the OMA-1 protein, which regulates the cutting of OPA-1. OPA- 1 has two isoforms: a long (active) and short (inactive) isoforms. Our research is exploring the impact of the levels of OPA1 expression on the observed ∆ψm threshold of mitochondrial fusion. Our laboratory has demonstrated that 143B cells lose L-OPA1 isoforms at [CCCP]> 4.75 µM and AC16 between 2-4µM of CCCP. We have also discovered that endogenous levels of OPA1 are higher in 143B in comparison to the AC16, which may confer heightened sensitivity to loss of ∆ψm. To test this, transfection of exogenous OMA1 and OPA1 will be done to monitor the resistance to CCCP treatment.


Copyright 2021 Patrick De La Torre Schutz. All Rights Reserved.

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