Cardiolipin remodeling and the function of tafazzin

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013 Mar;1831(3):582-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2012.11.007. Epub 2012 Nov 28.


Cardiolipin, the specific phospholipid of mitochondria, is involved in the biogenesis, the dynamics, and the supramolecular organization of mitochondrial membranes. Cardiolipin acquires a characteristic composition of fatty acids by post-synthetic remodeling, a process that is crucial for cardiolipin homeostasis and function. The remodeling of cardiolipin depends on the activity of tafazzin, a non-specific phospholipid-lysophospholipid transacylase. This review article discusses recent findings that suggest a novel function of tafazzin in mitochondrial membranes. By shuffling fatty acids between molecular species, tafazzin transforms the lipid composition and by doing so supports changes in the membrane conformation, specifically the generation of membrane curvature. Tafazzin activity is critical for the differentiation of cardiomyocytes, in which the characteristic cristae-rich morphology of cardiac mitochondria evolves. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Phospholipids and Phospholipid Metabolism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiolipins / metabolism*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Membrane / chemistry
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria, Heart / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Turnover
  • Models, Biological
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism*
  • Protein Isoforms / chemistry
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*
  • Species Specificity
  • Transcription Factors / chemistry
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Cardiolipins
  • Fatty Acids
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Transcription Factors
  • TAFAZZIN protein, human