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      Mitochondrial Dynamics — Mitochondrial Fission and Fusion in Human Diseases

      New England Journal of Medicine

      Massachusetts Medical Society

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          Chemical inhibition of the mitochondrial division dynamin reveals its role in Bax/Bak-dependent mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization.

          Mitochondrial fusion and division play important roles in the regulation of apoptosis. Mitochondrial fusion proteins attenuate apoptosis by inhibiting release of cytochrome c from mitochondria, in part by controlling cristae structures. Mitochondrial division promotes apoptosis by an unknown mechanism. We addressed how division proteins regulate apoptosis using inhibitors of mitochondrial division identified in a chemical screen. The most efficacious inhibitor, mdivi-1 (for mitochondrial division inhibitor) attenuates mitochondrial division in yeast and mammalian cells by selectively inhibiting the mitochondrial division dynamin. In cells, mdivi-1 retards apoptosis by inhibiting mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization. In vitro, mdivi-1 potently blocks Bid-activated Bax/Bak-dependent cytochrome c release from mitochondria. These data indicate the mitochondrial division dynamin directly regulates mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization independent of Drp1-mediated division. Our findings raise the interesting possibility that mdivi-1 represents a class of therapeutics for stroke, myocardial infarction, and neurodegenerative diseases.
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            Mitochondrial fission factor Drp1 is essential for embryonic development and synapse formation in mice.

            Mitochondrial morphology is dynamically controlled by a balance between fusion and fission. The physiological importance of mitochondrial fission in vertebrates is less clearly defined than that of mitochondrial fusion. Here we show that mice lacking the mitochondrial fission GTPase Drp1 have developmental abnormalities, particularly in the forebrain, and die after embryonic day 12.5. Neural cell-specific (NS) Drp1(-/-) mice die shortly after birth as a result of brain hypoplasia with apoptosis. Primary culture of NS-Drp1(-/-) mouse forebrain showed a decreased number of neurites and defective synapse formation, thought to be due to aggregated mitochondria that failed to distribute properly within the cell processes. These defects were reflected by abnormal forebrain development and highlight the importance of Drp1-dependent mitochondrial fission within highly polarized cells such as neurons. Moreover, Drp1(-/-) murine embryonic fibroblasts and embryonic stem cells revealed that Drp1 is required for a normal rate of cytochrome c release and caspase activation during apoptosis, although mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization, as examined by the release of Smac/Diablo and Tim8a, may occur independently of Drp1 activity.
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              Mitochondrial dynamics in mammalian health and disease.

              The meaning of the word mitochondrion (from the Greek mitos, meaning thread, and chondros, grain) illustrates that the heterogeneity of mitochondrial morphology has been known since the first descriptions of this organelle. Such a heterogeneous morphology is explained by the dynamic nature of mitochondria. Mitochondrial dynamics is a concept that includes the movement of mitochondria along the cytoskeleton, the regulation of mitochondrial architecture (morphology and distribution), and connectivity mediated by tethering and fusion/fission events. The relevance of these events in mitochondrial and cell physiology has been partially unraveled after the identification of the genes responsible for mitochondrial fusion and fission. Furthermore, during the last decade, it has been identified that mutations in two mitochondrial fusion genes (MFN2 and OPA1) cause prevalent neurodegenerative diseases (Charcot-Marie Tooth type 2A and Kjer disease/autosomal dominant optic atrophy). In addition, other diseases such as type 2 diabetes or vascular proliferative disorders show impaired MFN2 expression. Altogether, these findings have established mitochondrial dynamics as a consolidated area in cellular physiology. Here we review the most significant findings in the field of mitochondrial dynamics in mammalian cells and their implication in human pathologies.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                Massachusetts Medical Society
                0028-4793
                1533-4406
                December 05 2013
                December 05 2013
                : 369
                : 23
                : 2236-2251
                Article
                10.1056/NEJMra1215233
                24304053
                © 2013
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