Mitochondria are cellular organelles that produce energy in the form of adenosine
triphosphate. Mitochondria may be affected by aging and also can be influenced
by disease such as mitochondria disorders and cardiac dysfunction. A
mitochondrion has inner and outer membranes that are compromised of
phospholipid bilayers and proteins. The components of the outer membrane
control how these organelles interact with other parts of the cell.
The isoelectric point (pI) is the pH where a molecule or particle has no net charge.
Mitochondria have a pI which depends on the phospholipids and proteins that
make up the mitochondrial outer membrane.
The goal of my project is to model the pI of the mitochondrial outer membrane
consisting of phospholipids and amino acids to better understand experimental
data. I have been writing a computer program that generates random
compositions of amino acids and phospholipids on the surface of mitochondria by
using the Monte Carlo method. This program automatically predicts the
composition of the outer mitochondrial membrane based on experimental pI and
produces a theoretical distribution that matches the experimental pI distribution.
This result helps people understand the composition of the outer membrane of the
mitochondria. I will use this program to build more detailed models of outer
membranes of mitochondria.