Mitochondrial Cristae: Where Beauty Meets Functionality

Trends Biochem Sci. 2016 Mar;41(3):261-273. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2016.01.001. Epub 2016 Feb 6.


Mitochondrial cristae are dynamic bioenergetic compartments whose shape changes under different physiological conditions. Recent discoveries have unveiled the relation between cristae shape and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) function, suggesting that membrane morphology modulates the organization and function of the OXPHOS system, with a direct impact on cellular metabolism. As a corollary, cristae-shaping proteins have emerged as potential modulators of mitochondrial bioenergetics, a concept confirmed by genetic experiments in mouse models of respiratory chain deficiency. Here, we review our knowledge of mitochondrial ultrastructural organization and how it impacts mitochondrial metabolism.

Keywords: OXPHOS complexes and supercomplexes; cristae; mitochondrial-shaping proteins.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Phosphorylation