The interplay between mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagy

Antioxid Redox Signal. 2011 May 15;14(10):1939-51. doi: 10.1089/ars.2010.3779. Epub 2011 Mar 17.


Mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagy are recognized as two critical processes underlying mitochondrial homeostasis. Morphological and bioenergetic characterization of the life cycle of an individual mitochondrion reveals several points where fusion, fission, and mitophagy interact. Mitochondrial fission can produce an impaired daughter unit that will be targeted by the autophagic machinery. Mitochondrial fusion, on the other hand, may serve to dilute impaired respiratory components and thereby prevent their removal. The inverse dependency of fusion and mitophagy on membrane potential allows them to act as complementary rather than competitive fates of the daughter mitochondrion after a fission event. We discuss the interplay between mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagy in different tissues and in different disease models under both stress-induced and steady-state conditions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autophagy / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Fusion / physiology
  • Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial / physiology
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological