Interactions of mitochondria with the actin cytoskeleton

Biochim Biophys Acta. May-Jun 2006;1763(5-6):450-62. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2006.02.014. Epub 2006 Mar 29.


Interactions between mitochondria and the cytoskeleton are essential for normal mitochondrial morphology, motility and distribution. While microtubules and their motors have been established as important factors for mitochondrial transport, emerging evidence indicates that mitochondria interact with the actin cytoskeleton in many cell types. In certain fungi, such as the budding yeast and Aspergillus, or in plant cells mitochondrial motility is largely actin-based. Even in systems such as neurons, where microtubules are the primary means of long-distance mitochondrial transport, the actin cytoskeleton is required for short-distance mitochondrial movements and for immobilization of the organelle at the cell cortex. The actin cytoskeleton is also involved in the immobilization of mitochondria at the cortex in cultured tobacco cells and in budding yeast. While the exact nature of these immobilizations is not known, they may be important for retaining mitochondria at sites of high ATP utilization or at other cellular locations where they are needed. Recent findings also indicate that mutations in actin or actin-binding proteins can influence mitochondrial pathways leading to cell death. Thus, mitochondria-actin interactions contribute to apoptosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Plants / metabolism
  • Saccharomycetales / cytology
  • Saccharomycetales / metabolism


  • Actins