Mitochondria participate in crucial cellular processes such as energy harvesting and intermediate metabolism. Although mitochondria possess their own genome--a vestige of their bacterial origins and endosymbiotic evolution--most mitochondrial proteins are encoded in the nucleus. The expression of the mitochondrial proteome hence requires tight coordination between the two genomes to adapt mitochondrial function to the ever-changing cellular milieu. In this Review, we focus on the pathways that coordinate the communication between mitochondria and the nucleus during homeostasis and mitochondrial stress. These pathways include nucleus-to-mitochondria (anterograde) and mitochondria-to-nucleus (retrograde) communication, mitonuclear feedback signalling and proteostasis regulation, the integrated stress response and non-cell-autonomous communication. We discuss how mitonuclear communication safeguards cellular and organismal fitness and regulates lifespan.