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Interface Focus. 2017 Apr 6;7(2):20160100. doi: 10.1098/rsfs.2016.0100.

Mitochondrial metabolites: undercover signalling molecules.

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MRC Cancer Unit , University of Cambridge , Cambridge , UK.


Mitochondria are one of most characterized metabolic hubs of the cell. Here, crucial biochemical reactions occur and most of the cellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is produced. In addition, mitochondria act as signalling platforms and communicate with the rest of the cell by modulating calcium fluxes, by producing free radicals, and by releasing bioactive proteins. It is emerging that mitochondrial metabolites can also act as second messengers and can elicit profound (epi)genetic changes. This review describes the many signalling functions of mitochondrial metabolites under normal and stress conditions, focusing on metabolites of the tricarboxylic acid cycle. We provide a new framework for understanding the role of mitochondrial metabolism in cellular pathophysiology.


metabolism; mitochondria; signalling

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