Phosphatidic Acid and Cardiolipin Coordinate Mitochondrial Dynamics

Trends Cell Biol. 2018 Jan;28(1):67-76. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2017.08.011. Epub 2017 Sep 11.


Membrane organelles comprise both proteins and lipids. Remodeling of these membrane structures is controlled by interactions between specific proteins and lipids. Mitochondrial structure and function depend on regulated fusion and the division of both the outer and inner membranes. Here we discuss recent advances in the regulation of mitochondrial dynamics by two critical phospholipids, phosphatidic acid (PA) and cardiolipin (CL). These two lipids interact with the core components of mitochondrial fusion and division (Opa1, mitofusin, and Drp1) to activate and inhibit these dynamin-related GTPases. Moreover, lipid-modifying enzymes such as phospholipases and lipid phosphatases may organize local lipid composition to spatially and temporarily coordinate a balance between fusion and division to establish mitochondrial morphology.

Keywords: dynamin-related GTPase; lipid phosphatase; membrane; mitochondrial division; mitochondrial fusion; phospholipase; phospholipids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiolipins / physiology*
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / physiology*
  • Mitochondrial Dynamics / physiology*
  • Mitochondrial Membranes / physiology
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / physiology
  • Phosphatidic Acids / physiology*


  • Cardiolipins
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Phosphatidic Acids
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases