Genetic and biochemical intricacy shapes mitochondrial cytopathies

Neurobiol Dis. 2016 Aug;92(Pt A):55-63. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2015.02.003. Epub 2015 Feb 12.


The major progress made in the identification of the molecular bases of mitochondrial disease has revealed the huge diversity of their origin. Today up to 300 mutations were identified in the mitochondrial genome and about 200 nuclear genes are possibly mutated. In this review, we highlight a number of features specific to mitochondria which possibly participate in the complexity of these diseases. These features include both the complexity of mitochondrial genetics and the multiplicity of the roles ensured by the organelles in numerous aspects of cell life and death. This spectacular complexity presumably accounts for the present lack of an efficient therapy in the vast majority of cases.

Keywords: Metabolism; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial disease; OXPHOS; Respiratory chain; Therapy; mtDNA.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Kearns-Sayre Syndrome / genetics*
  • Kearns-Sayre Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Kearns-Sayre Syndrome / therapy
  • Mitochondrial Myopathies / genetics*
  • Mitochondrial Myopathies / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Myopathies / therapy

Supplementary concepts

  • Mitochondrial cytopathy