Mitochondrial-nuclear communications

Annu Rev Biochem. 2007;76:701-22. doi: 10.1146/annurev.biochem.76.052305.091720.


Mitochondria cannot be made de novo but replicate by a mechanism of recruitment of new proteins, which are added to preexisting subcompartments. Although mitochondria have their own DNA, more than 98% of the total protein complement of the organelle is encoded by the nuclear genome. Mitochondrial biogenesis requires a coordination of expression of two genomes and therefore cross talk between the nucleus and mitochondria. In mammals, regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis and proliferation is influenced by external factors, such as nutrients, hormones, temperature, exercise, hypoxia, and aging. This complexity points to the existence of a coordinated and tightly regulated network connecting different pathways. Communications are also required for eliciting mitochondrial responses to specific stress pathways. This review covers the mechanisms of mitochondrial biogenesis and the way cells respond to external signals to maintain mitochondrial function and cellular homeostasis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / physiology*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator-1
  • Calcium