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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2006 May-Jun;1763(5-6):430-41. Epub 2006 Jan 30.

Plant mitochondrial dynamics.

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School of Biology, Sir Harold Mitchell Building, University of St. Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9TH Scotland, UK.


Higher plant mitochondria are dynamic, pleomorphic organelles. The higher plant chondriome (all mitochondria in a cell collectively) is typically composed of numerous, physically discrete, mitochondria. However, frequent inter-mitochondrial fusion, enabling the mixing and recombination of mtDNA, ensures that the higher plant chondriome functions, at least genetically, as a discontinuous whole. Nothing is known about the genes controlling mitochondrial fusion in plants; there are no plant homologues of most of the genes known to be involved in fusion in other organisms. In contrast, the mitochondrial fission apparatus is generally conserved. Higher plant mitochondria use dynamin-like and Fis-type proteins for division; like yeast and animals, higher plants have lost the mitochondrial-specific form of the prokaryote-derived protein, FtsZ. In addition to being providers of energy for life, mitochondria provide a trigger for death. The role of mitochondrial dynamics in the initiation and promulgation of cell death is conserved in higher plants although there are specific differences in the genes and mechanisms involved relative to other higher eukaryotes.

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