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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2010 Aug;21(6):542-9. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2009.12.003. Epub 2009 Dec 17.

Mitochondrial dynamics in model organisms: what yeasts, worms and flies have taught us about fusion and fission of mitochondria.

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Institut für Zellbiologie, Universität Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany.


Mitochondrial fusion and fission are important for a great variety of cellular functions, including energy metabolism, development, aging and cell death. Many of the core components mediating mitochondrial dynamics in human cells have been first identified and mechanistically analyzed in model organisms, such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster. In particular, the functions of FZO/mitofusin and Mgm1/EAT-3/OPA1 in fusion and Dnm1/DRP1 in fission have been remarkably well conserved in yeasts, worms, flies and mammals. On the other hand, mechanisms to coordinate and regulate the activity of these molecular machines appear to be more diverse in different organisms. Here, I will discuss how S. cerevisiae, C. elegans and Drosophila have contributed to our current understanding of the cellular machineries mediating the dynamic behaviour of mitochondria.

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