It has been only 15 years since studies began on the molecular mechanisms underlying mitochondrial fission and fusion using simple model organisms such as Drosophila, yeast, and Caenorhabditis elegans. Beyond the primary functions of mitochondrial fission and fusion in controlling organelle shape, size, and number, it became clear that these dynamic processes are also critical to regulating cell death, mitophagy, and organelle distribution. Now, studies suggest that prominent changes occur in mitochondrial dynamics in a broad array of neurodegenerative diseases, and there is substantial evidence suggesting a key role in disease pathogenesis because neurons are among the most energy-consuming cell types and have a highly developed cell shape. Here, we review the recent findings on mitochondrial dynamics in neurodegeneration.
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