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EMBO Rep. 2002 Jun;3(6):527-31.

Merging mitochondria matters: cellular role and molecular machinery of mitochondrial fusion.

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1
Institut für Physiologische Chemie der Universität München, Butenandtstrasse 5, D-81377 München, Germany. benedikt.westermann@bio.med.uni-muenchen.de

Abstract

Fusion is essential for mitochondrial function in a great variety of eukaryotic cell types. Yeast cells defective in mitohondrial fusion are respiration-deficient, human cells use complementation of fused mitochondria as a defence against the accumulation of oxidative damage during cellular aging and fusion is required to build an intracellular mitochondrial continuum that allows the dissipation of energy in the cell. Moreover, developmental processes such as spermatogenesis in Drosophila require regulated mitochondrial fusion. Some of the molecular mediators of mitochondrial membrane fusion have been identified in recent years. An evolutionarily conserved large GTPase in the outer membrane is essential for mitochondrial fusion, and genetic screens in yeast are revealing an increasing number of additional important genes. Mechanistic studies have provided the first insights into how the problem of faithfully fusing a double membrane-bounded organelle in a coordinated manner is solved.

PMID:
12052774
PMCID:
PMC1084147
DOI:
10.1093/embo-reports/kvf113
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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