Metabolism, cellular decisions and the language that unites them

Dr. Jared Rutter

Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry, University of Utah School of Medicine


    Mitochondria are dynamic and complex organelles that play a central role in all aspects of
biology, including energy production, intermediary metabolism, and apoptosis. These broad
cellular functions also place mitochondria as a central player in human health and disease.
We have focused recently on deciphering the biochemical and cellular functions of conserved
uncharacterized mitochondrial proteins. This has revealed new mechanisms for several
critical aspects of mitochondrial function, including the Mitochondrial Pyruvate Carrier
(MPC), which is required for efficient mitochondrial pyruvate uptake. By perturbing the
metabolic program of cells, MPC manipulation profoundly affects cellular decisions impacting
stem cell homeostasis and uncontrolled proliferation. This observation suggests that
metabolism is not a passive bystander in determining the behavior of cells, but instead plays a
decisive role. One of our current areas of focus, which will be discussed, is to determine the
mechanisms whereby metabolism and metabolites affect behaviors via direct modulation of
proteins involved in signaling, transcription and other regulatory mechanisms. As we
discover these mechanisms, which we hypothesize to be extensive within biology, we will be
enabled to impinge on such phenomena for therapeutic benefit in many disease states.

Date: Jul. 4, 2023 (Tue) 9:00 – 10:30
Place: Zoom
Host: Shinya Kuroda