Mitochondria-associated membranes in aging and senescence: structure, function, and dynamics

Cell Death Dis. 2018 Feb 28;9(3):332. doi: 10.1038/s41419-017-0105-5.


Sites of close contact between mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) are known as mitochondria-associated membranes (MAM) or mitochondria-ER contacts (MERCs), and play an important role in both cell physiology and pathology. A growing body of evidence indicates that changes observed in the molecular composition of MAM and in the number of MERCs predisposes MAM to be considered a dynamic structure. Its involvement in processes such as lipid biosynthesis and trafficking, calcium homeostasis, reactive oxygen species production, and autophagy has been experimentally confirmed. Recently, MAM have also been studied in the context of different pathologies, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, type 2 diabetes mellitus and GM1-gangliosidosis. An underappreciated amount of data links MAM with aging or senescence processes. In the present review, we summarize the current knowledge of basic MAM biology, composition and action, and discuss the potential connections supporting the idea that MAM are significant players in longevity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cellular Senescence
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Membranes / metabolism*