Role of mitochondrial lipids in guiding fission and fusion

J Mol Med (Berl). 2015 Mar;93(3):263-9. doi: 10.1007/s00109-014-1237-z. Epub 2014 Dec 5.


Clinically important links have been established between mitochondrial function and cardiac physiology and disease in the context of signaling mechanisms, energy production, and muscle cell development. The proteins and processes that drive mitochondrial fusion and fission are now known to have emergent functions in intracellular calcium homeostasis, apoptosis, vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation, myofibril organization, and Notch-driven cell differentiation, all key issues in cardiac disease. Moreover, decreasing fission may confer protection against ischemic heart disease, particularly in the setting of obesity, diabetes, and heart failure. The importance of lipids in controlling mitochondrial fission and fusion is increasingly becoming appreciated. Roles for the bulk and signaling lipids cardiolipin, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidic acid, diacylglycerol, and lysophosphatidic acid and the enzymes that synthesize or metabolize them in the control of mitochondrial shape and function are reviewed here. A number of diseases have been linked to loss-of-function alleles for a subset of the enzymes, emphasizing the importance of the lipid environment in this context.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiolipins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Membrane Lipids / physiology*
  • Mitochondria, Heart / physiology
  • Mitochondrial Dynamics*


  • Cardiolipins
  • Membrane Lipids