Mitochondrial are integral to many aspects of cellular function. Consequently, we continue to discover new essential roles for mitochondria in cell physiology. Mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with an ever-increasing number of human diseases such as cancer, diabetes, infertility, and underlies aging and neurodegenerative disorders. However, despite their importance, fundamental questions regarding mitochondrial biology and disease remain unexplored.

The Patel Lab started out studying the mitochondrial genome (yes, mitochondria have their own genome!). Mutations in the mitochondrial genome are associated with a variety of biological consequences that include inherited diseases, aging, and the evolutionary process of speciation. The Patel Lab continues to address fundamental questions pertaining to the mitochondrial genome. These include understanding the molecular basis of its copy number control, its epigenetic regulation, the evolutionary forces acting on it, and the cellular mechanisms that govern transmission of mitochondrial mutations through the female germline. More recently, the lab has expanded its work to other aspects of mitochondrial biology. This includes uncovering a link between mitochondrial function and tRNA biology, and revealing a role for germline-to-soma communication in regulating mitochondrial stress.


The following timeline graph is generated from all co-authored publications.

Featured publications are shown below:

  1. A tRNA processing enzyme is a key regulator of the mitochondrial unfolded protein response. Held JP, Feng G, Saunders BR, Pereira CV, Burkewitz K, Patel MR (2022) Elife
    › Primary publication · 35451962 (PubMed) · PMC9064297 (PubMed Central)
  2. Cellular mechanisms of mtDNA heteroplasmy dynamics. Pereira CV, Gitschlag BL, Patel MR (2021) Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol 56(5): 510-525
    › Primary publication · 34120542 (PubMed)
  3. Elevated mitochondrial DNA copy number found in ubiquinone-deficient clk-1 mutants is not rescued by ubiquinone precursor 2-4-dihydroxybenzoate. Kirby CS, Patel MR (2021) Mitochondrion : 38-48
    › Primary publication · 33581333 (PubMed) · PMC8113126 (PubMed Central)
  4. Nutrient status shapes selfish mitochondrial genome dynamics across different levels of selection. Gitschlag BL, Tate AT, Patel MR (2020) Elife
    › Primary publication · 32959778 (PubMed) · PMC7508553 (PubMed Central)
  5. Functional conservation of mitochondrial RNA levels despite divergent mtDNA organization. Held JP, Patel MR (2020) BMC Res Notes 13(1): 334
    › Primary publication · 32653018 (PubMed) · PMC7353721 (PubMed Central)
  6. Mitochondria: A Microcosm of Darwinian Competition. Gitschlag BL, Patel MR (2019) Curr Biol 29(24): R1316-R1318
    › Primary publication · 31846681 (PubMed) · PMC7810500 (PubMed Central)
  7. Inheritance: Male mtDNA Just Can't Catch a Break. Patel MR (2017) Curr Biol 27(7): R264-R266
    › Primary publication · 28376332 (PubMed)
  8. A mitochondrial DNA hypomorph of cytochrome oxidase specifically impairs male fertility in Drosophila melanogaster. Patel MR, Miriyala GK, Littleton AJ, Yang H, Trinh K, Young JM, Kennedy SR, Yamashita YM, Pallanck LJ, Malik HS (2016) Elife
    › Primary publication · 27481326 (PubMed) · PMC4970871 (PubMed Central)
  9. Homeostatic Responses Regulate Selfish Mitochondrial Genome Dynamics in C. elegans. Gitschlag BL, Kirby CS, Samuels DC, Gangula RD, Mallal SA, Patel MR (2016) Cell Metab 24(1): 91-103
    › Primary publication · 27411011 (PubMed) · PMC5287496 (PubMed Central)
  10. RIP3 Regulates Autophagy and Promotes Coxsackievirus B3 Infection of Intestinal Epithelial Cells. Harris KG, Morosky SA, Drummond CG, Patel M, Kim C, Stolz DB, Bergelson JM, Cherry S, Coyne CB (2015) Cell Host Microbe 18(2): 221-32
    › Primary publication · 26269957 (PubMed) · PMC4562276 (PubMed Central)
  11. Intramolecular regulation of presynaptic scaffold protein SYD-2/liprin-α. Chia PH, Patel MR, Wagner OI, Klopfenstein DR, Shen K (2013) Mol Cell Neurosci : 76-84
    › Primary publication · 23541703 (PubMed) · PMC3930023 (PubMed Central)
  12. Convergent evolution of escape from hepaciviral antagonism in primates. Patel MR, Loo YM, Horner SM, Gale M, Malik HS (2012) PLoS Biol 10(3): e1001282
    › Primary publication · 22427742 (PubMed) · PMC3302847 (PubMed Central)
  13. NAB-1 instructs synapse assembly by linking adhesion molecules and F-actin to active zone proteins. Chia PH, Patel MR, Shen K (2012) Nat Neurosci 15(2): 234-42
    › Primary publication · 22231427 (PubMed) · PMC3848868 (PubMed Central)
  14. Paleovirology - ghosts and gifts of viruses past. Patel MR, Emerman M, Malik HS (2011) Curr Opin Virol 1(4): 304-9
    › Primary publication · 22003379 (PubMed) · PMC3190193 (PubMed Central)
  15. Neurite extension: starting at the finish line. Patel MR, Shen K (2009) Cell 137(2): 207-9
    › Primary publication · 19379686 (PubMed) · PMC3083850 (PubMed Central)
  16. RSY-1 is a local inhibitor of presynaptic assembly in C. elegans. Patel MR, Shen K (2009) Science 323(5920): 1500-3
    › Primary publication · 19286562 (PubMed) · PMC3087376 (PubMed Central)
  17. Hierarchical assembly of presynaptic components in defined C. elegans synapses. Patel MR, Lehrman EK, Poon VY, Crump JG, Zhen M, Bargmann CI, Shen K (2006) Nat Neurosci 9(12): 1488-98
    › Primary publication · 17115039 (PubMed) · PMC3917495 (PubMed Central)