Mitochondrial dynamics, fission and fusion, were first identified in yeast with investigation in heart cells beginning only in the last 5 to 7 years. In the ensuing time, it has become evident that these processes are not only required for healthy mitochondria, but also, that derangement of these processes contributes to disease. The fission and fusion proteins have a number of functions beyond the mitochondrial dynamics. Many of these functions are related to their membrane activities, such as apoptosis. However, other functions involve other areas of the mitochondria, such as OPA1's role in maintaining cristae structure and preventing cytochrome c leak, and its essential (at least a 10 kDa fragment of OPA1) role in mtDNA replication. In heart disease, changes in expression of these important proteins can have detrimental effects on mitochondrial and cellular function.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)