New roles for mitochondrial proteases in health, ageing and disease

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2015 Jun;16(6):345-59. doi: 10.1038/nrm3984. Epub 2015 May 13.


Recent advances in mitochondrial biology have revealed the high diversity and complexity of proteolytic enzymes that regulate mitochondrial function. We have classified mitochondrial proteases, or mitoproteases, on the basis of their function and location, and defined the human mitochondrial degradome as the complete set of mitoproteases that are encoded by the human genome. In addition to their nonspecific degradative functions, mitoproteases perform highly regulated proteolytic reactions that are important in mitochondrial function, integrity and homeostasis. These include protein synthesis, quality control, mitochondrial biogenesis and dynamics, mitophagy and apoptosis. Impaired or dysregulated function of mitoproteases is associated with ageing and with many pathological conditions such as neurodegenerative disorders, metabolic syndromes and cancer. A better understanding of the mitochondrial proteolytic landscape and its modulation may contribute to improving human lifespan and 'healthspan'.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Aging / pathology
  • Animals
  • Genome, Human
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / enzymology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / genetics
  • Metabolic Syndrome / pathology
  • Mitochondria / enzymology*
  • Mitochondria / genetics
  • Mitochondria / pathology
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / genetics
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / enzymology*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / genetics
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / pathology
  • Peptide Hydrolases / genetics
  • Peptide Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Proteolysis


  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Peptide Hydrolases