Musical chairs during mitophagy

Joern Dengjel, Hagai Abeliovich
Autophagy 2014, 10 (4): 706-7
Mitophagy, or the autophagic degradation of mitochondria, is thought to be important in mitochondrial quality control, and hence in cellular physiology. Defects in mitophagy correlate with late onset pathologies and aging. Here, we discuss recent results that shed light on the interrelationship between mitophagy and mitochondrial dynamics, based on proteomic analyses of protein dynamics in wild-type and mutant cells. These studies show that different mitochondrial matrix proteins undergo mitophagy at different rates, and that the rate differences are affected by mitochondrial dynamics. These results are consistent with models in which phase separation within the mitochondrial matrix leads to unequal segregation of proteins during mitochondrial fission. Repeated fusion and fission cycles may thus lead to "distillation" of components that are destined for degradation.

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