Mitochondrial dynamics, the fusion and fission of individual mitochondrial units, is critical to the exchange of the metabolic, genetic and proteomic contents of individual mitochondria. In this regard, fusion and fission events have been shown to modulate mitochondrial bioenergetics, as well as several cellular processes including fuel sensing, ATP production, autophagy, apoptosis, and the cell cycle. Regulation of the dynamic events of fusion and fission occur at two redundant and interactive levels. Locally, the microenvironment of the individual mitochondrion can alter its ability to fuse, divide or move through the cell. Globally, nuclear-encoded processes and cellular ionic and second messenger systems can alter or activate mitochondrial proteins, regulate mitochondrial dynamics and concomitantly change the condition of the mitochondrial population. In this review we investigate the different global and local signals that control mitochondrial biology. This discussion is carried out to clarify the different signals that impact the status of the mitochondrial population.
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