Evolving Concepts of Mitochondrial Dynamics

Annu Rev Physiol. 2019 Feb 10;81:1-17. doi: 10.1146/annurev-physiol-020518-114358. Epub 2018 Sep 26.


The concept that mitochondria are highly dynamic is as widely accepted as it is untrue for a number of important contexts. Healthy mitochondria of the most energy-dependent and mitochondrial-rich mammalian organ, the heart, only rarely undergo fusion or fission and are seemingly static within cardiac myocytes. Here, we revisit mitochondrial dynamism with a fresh perspective developed from the recently discovered multifunctionality of mitochondrial fusion proteins and newly defined mechanisms for direct cross talk between mitochondrial dynamics, biogenesis, quality control, and trafficking pathways. Insights gained from comparing static mitochondrial biology in cardiac myocytes and dynamic mitochondrial biology in neurons are reviewed with the goal of understanding contextual fallacies of overly generalized characterizations of these essential and intriguing organelles.

Keywords: mitochondrial fission; mitochondrial fusion; mitochondrial trafficking; mitophagy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / physiology*
  • Mitochondrial Dynamics / physiology*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / physiology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / physiology


  • Mitochondrial Proteins