José María González de Cózar: Identifying novel mechanisms required for mitochondrial function

José María González de Cózar
2020 could be described as the year of the RNA, as it has been presented as the cause (the molecule that conforms the genome of the SARS-CoV-2 virus) and as the solution (the RNA vaccines developed by BioNTech and ModernaTX) for the pandemic situation that we are still fighting. The work presented in José María González de Cózar’s doctoral dissertation looked at further elucidating the cellular dysfunction triggered by misregulation of proteins involved in mitochondrial function, taking a close look at an enzyme that degrades RNA molecules. Novel findings in the thesis reveals that RNA is a molecule that may behave as “The Good” and as “The Bad”, depending on its conditions, localisation and concentration.

González de Cózar´s doctoral thesis focused on identifying the role of three proteins encoded in the nucleus that appeared to have an impact on mitochondrial function.

To investigate the roles of these proteins (Bet1, Slh, and RNase H1), a fruit fly (Drosophila) model was used. The project revealed that these three proteins are required to maintain the mitochondrial function, as severe mitochondrial defects were seen when these proteins were limited. The thesis sheds light on another once poorly described mitochondrial function and details the biochemical properties of the ribonuclease.

Altogether, the findings underline that even though the scientific community has investigated mitochondria for more than a century, our understanding of mitochondrial functions and requirements are still far from complete.

The doctoral dissertation of MSc. José María González de Cózar in the field of molecular biology and biochemistry titled Investigating the roles of three proteins in mitochondrial homeostasis will be publicly examined in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology at Tampere University at 12:00 on Friday 7 May 2021. The Opponent will be Professor Juhan Sedman from Tartu University, Estonia. Professor Howard T. Jacobs will act as the custos.

The event cn be followed via remote connection

The dissertation is available online at


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