Researchers are reporting that they have developed compounds that have the potential to be developed into new drugs for treating certain diseases involving mitochondria, known as the cell’s powerhouse. Those diseases include Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, an inherited disorder that leads to loss of motor neurons and eventually paralysis. In lab studies using mouse cells, the researchers demonstrated that they could use the compounds to control the activity of a key protein, called mitofusin 2, that is disabled in the mitochondria of patients with this disease. Scientists believe that the finding may eventually have applications in treating other diseases, including heart disease and diabetes, which aren’t generally thought to be diseases of the mitochondria. The study, partly funded by NHLBI, appeared in Nature.