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Role of Mitofusins and Mitophagy in Life or Death Decisions

Authors
  • Joaquim, Mariana
  • Escobar-Henriques, Mafalda
Type
Published Article
Journal
Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
Publisher
Frontiers Media SA
Publication Date
Sep 22, 2020
Volume
8
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3389/fcell.2020.572182
PMID: 33072754
PMCID: PMC7539839
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Mitochondria entail an incredible dynamism in their morphology, impacting death signaling and selective elimination of the damaged organelles. In turn, by recycling the superfluous or malfunctioning mitochondria, mostly prevalent during aging, mitophagy contributes to maintain a healthy mitochondrial network. Mitofusins locate at the outer mitochondrial membrane and control the plastic behavior of mitochondria, by mediating fusion events. Besides deciding on mitochondrial interconnectivity, mitofusin 2 regulates physical contacts between mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum, but also serves as a decisive docking platform for mitophagy and apoptosis effectors. Thus, mitofusins integrate multiple bidirectional inputs from and into mitochondria and ensure proper energetic and metabolic cellular performance. Here, we review the role of mitofusins and mitophagy at the cross-road between life and apoptotic death decisions. Furthermore, we highlight the impact of this interplay on disease, focusing on how mitofusin 2 and mitophagy affect non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

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