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Trends Plant Sci. 2018 May;23(5):434-450. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2018.02.010. Epub 2018 Mar 22.

Mitophagy: A Mechanism for Plant Growth and Survival.

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Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia.
Department of Biology, Lund University, Sölvegatan 35, 223 62 Lund, Sweden. Electronic address:


Mitophagy is a conserved cellular process that is important for autophagic removal of damaged mitochondria to maintain a healthy mitochondrial population. Mitophagy also appears to occur in plants and has roles in development, stress response, senescence, and programmed cell death. However, many of the genes that control mitophagy in yeast and animal cells are absent from plants, and no plant proteins marking defunct mitochondria for autophagic degradation are yet known. New insights implicate general autophagy-related proteins in mitophagy, affecting the senescence of plant tissues. Mitophagy control and its importance for energy metabolism, survival, signaling, and cell death in plants are discussed. Furthermore, we suggest mitochondrial membrane proteins containing ATG8-interacting motifs, which might serve as mitophagy receptor proteins in plant mitochondria.


autophagy; cell death; mitochondria; plant hormones; reactive oxygen species; senescence

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