Hot findings from inside the cell

A team of scientists in the University of Helsinki and French National Institute of Health and Medical Research have released startling findings about the temperature inside our cells.

A research team led by Pierre Rustin in Paris, together with Howy Jacobs in the Institute of Biotechnology have released startling findings about the temperature of mitochondria inside our cells. Although the body as a whole is maintained at a relatively cool 37 °C, the power plants of our cells, mitochondria, operate at a much higher temperature, a sizzling 50 °C.

– This discovery requires us to rethink a lot of conventional biochemistry, says Jacobs.  

The findings should have great importance for understanding how mitochondrial dysfunction impacts human health. They also invite us to reconsider how biological systems cope with extreme temperatures and with the wide fluctuations in temperature and nutrition that are common in the natural environment.

The work is reported on the pre-print server BioRxiv (, and is currently under peer-review at a leading journal.


Further information:

Howy Jacobs, director of the Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki

tel. +358 02941 59359,