Staying in aerobic shape: how the structural integrity of mitochondria and mitochondrial DNA is maintained

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2003 Aug;15(4):482-8. doi: 10.1016/s0955-0674(03)00070-x.


The structure and integrity of the mitochondrial compartment are features essential for it to function efficiently. The maintenance of mitochondrial structure in cells ranging from yeast to humans has been shown to require both ongoing fission and fusion. Recent characterization of many of the molecular components that direct mitochondrial fission and fusion events have led to a more complete understanding of how these processes take place. Further, mitochondrial fragmentation observed when cells undergo apoptosis requires mitochondrial fission, underlying the importance of mitochondrial dynamics in cellular homeostasis. Mitochondrial structure also impacts mitochondrial DNA inheritance. Recent studies suggest that faithful transmission of mitochondrial DNA to daughter cells might require a mitochondrial membrane tethering apparatus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Cell Compartmentation / genetics
  • Cell Respiration / physiology*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism
  • Intracellular Membranes / ultrastructure*
  • Membrane Fusion / genetics
  • Mitochondria / genetics
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / ultrastructure*
  • Mitosis / genetics


  • DNA, Mitochondrial