Miro, MCU, and calcium: bridging our understanding of mitochondrial movement in axons

Front Cell Neurosci. 2013 Sep 10:7:148. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2013.00148.


Neurons are extremely polarized structures with long axons and dendrites, which require proper distribution of mitochondria and maintenance of mitochondrial dynamics for neuronal functions and survival. Indeed, recent studies show that various neurological disorders are linked to mitochondrial transport in neurons. Mitochondrial anterograde transport is believed to deliver metabolic energy to synaptic terminals where energy demands are high, while mitochondrial retrograde transport is required to repair or remove damaged mitochondria in axons. It has been suggested that Ca(2) (+) plays a key role in regulating mitochondrial transport by altering the configuration of mitochondrial protein, miro. However, molecular mechanisms that regulate mitochondrial transport in neurons still are not well characterized. In this review, we will discuss the roles of miro in mitochondrial transport and how the recently identified components of the mitochondrial calcium uniporter add to our current model of mitochondrial mobility regulation.

Keywords: MCU; MICU1; axonal transport; miro; mitochondria.

Publication types

  • Review