Mitochondria play a pivotal role in cell physiology, producing the cellular energy and other essential metabolites as well as controlling apoptosis by integrating numerous death signals. The biogenesis of the oxidative phosphorylation system (OXPHOS) depends on the coordinated expression of two genomes, nuclear and mitochondrial. As a consequence, the control of mitochondrial biogenesis and function depends on extremely complex processes that require a variety of well orchestrated regulatory mechanisms. It is now clear that in order to provide cells with the correct number of structural and functional differentiated mitochondria, a variety of intracellular and extracellular signals including hormones and environmental stimuli need to be integrated. During the last few years a considerable effort has been devoted to study the factors that regulate mtDNA replication and transcription as well as the expression of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial genes in physiological and pathological conditions. Although still in their infancy, these studies are starting to provide the molecular basis that will allow to understand the mechanisms involved in the nucleo-mitochondrial communication, a cross-talk essential for cell life and death.