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Neurobiol Dis. 2013 Mar;51:13-26. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2012.01.009. Epub 2012 Jan 24.

Cell signaling and mitochondrial dynamics: Implications for neuronal function and neurodegenerative disease.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology Program, University of Iowa, Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City 52242, IA, USA.


Nascent evidence indicates that mitochondrial fission, fusion, and transport are subject to intricate regulatory mechanisms that intersect with both well-characterized and emerging signaling pathways. While it is well established that mutations in components of the mitochondrial fission/fusion machinery can cause neurological disorders, relatively little is known about upstream regulators of mitochondrial dynamics and their role in neurodegeneration. Here, we review posttranslational regulation of mitochondrial fission/fusion enzymes, with particular emphasis on dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), as well as outer mitochondrial signaling complexes involving protein kinases and phosphatases. We also review recent evidence that mitochondrial dynamics has profound consequences for neuronal development and synaptic transmission and discuss implications for clinical translation.

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