Mitochondrial elongation during autophagy: a stereotypical response to survive in difficult times

Autophagy. 2011 Oct;7(10):1251-3. doi: 10.4161/auto.7.10.16771. Epub 2011 Oct 1.


Mitochondrial morphological and structural changes play a role in several cellular processes, including apoptosis. We recently reported that mitochondrial elongation is also critical to sustain cell viability during macroautophagy. During macroautophagy unopposed mitochondrial fusion leads to organelle elongation both in vitro and in vivo. Longer mitochondria are protected from being degraded and possess more cristae where activity of the ATP synthase is increased, optimizing ATP production in times of nutrient restriction.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Diphosphate / chemistry
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Autophagy / physiology*
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Survival
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Time Factors


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Adenosine Diphosphate
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Cyclic AMP