Mitochondrial fusion and fission in cell life and death
Mitochondria are dynamic organelles that constantly fuse and divide. These processes (collectively termed mitochondrial dynamics) are important for mitochondrial inheritance and for the maintenance of mitochondrial functions. The core components of the evolutionarily conserved fusion and fission machineries have now been identified, and mechanistic studies have revealed the first secrets of the complex processes that govern fusion and fission of a double membrane-bound organelle. Mitochondrial dynamics was recently recognized as an important constituent of cellular quality control. Defects have detrimental consequences on bioenergetic supply and contribute to the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. These findings open exciting new directions to explore mitochondrial biology.