Egg development, and eventual viability, is especially reliant on the energy provided by healthy, functioning mitochondria.
Mitochondria generate power necessary for a cell to function, but they also create reactive oxygen species (ROS) as a byproduct. Too high an ROS load, called oxidative stress, can disturb many cellular functions, including through the induction of mutations in mitochondrial DNA. In order to fuel the beginning of embryonic development, eggs contain 10x more mitochondria than other cells. Aged and dysfunctional mitochondria are therefore thought to be a strong contributor to a decline in egg quality with age.
GCRLE Grantee projects
Dr Lynae Brayboy: Some proteins act to protect mitochondria from oxidative stress. Dr Brayboy is studying the role of one such protein, MDR-1, to determine if it may be a useful target for therapeutic interventions.