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Genes Dev. 2008 Jun 15;22(12):1577-90. doi: 10.1101/gad.1658508.

Mitochondrial dynamics and apoptosis.

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  • 1Biochemistry Section, Surgical Neurology Branch, NINDS, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


In healthy cells, mitochondria continually divide and fuse to form a dynamic interconnecting network. The molecular machinery that mediates this organelle fission and fusion is necessary to maintain mitochondrial integrity, perhaps by facilitating DNA or protein quality control. This network disintegrates during apoptosis at the time of cytochrome c release and prior to caspase activation, yielding more numerous and smaller mitochondria. Recent work shows that proteins involved in mitochondrial fission and fusion also actively participate in apoptosis induction. This review will cover the recent advances and presents competing models on how the mitochondrial fission and fusion machinery may intersect apoptosis pathways.

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