Multi-tasking: nuclear transcription factors with novel roles in the mitochondria

Trends Cell Biol. 2012 Aug;22(8):429-37. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2012.05.001. Epub 2012 Jun 14.


Coordinated responses between the nucleus and mitochondria are essential for the maintenance of homeostasis. For over 15 years, pools of nuclear transcription factors (TFs), such as p53 and nuclear hormone receptors, have been observed in the mitochondria. The contribution of the mitochondrial pool of these TFs to their well-defined biological actions is in some cases clear and in others not well understood. Recently, a small mitochondrial pool of the TF signal transducer and activator of transcription factor 3 (STAT3) was shown to modulate the activity of the electron transport chain (ETC). The mitochondrial function of STAT3 encompasses both its biological actions in the heart as well as its oncogenic effects. This review highlights advances in our understanding of how mitochondrial pools of nuclear TFs may influence the function of this organelle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Cell Respiration
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Transcription Factors