Mitochondria form dynamic tubular networks that continually change their shape and move throughout the cell. In eukaryotes, these organellar gymnastics are controlled by numerous pathways that preserve proper mitochondrial morphology and function. The best understood of these are the fusion and fission pathways, which rely on conserved GTPases and their binding partners to regulate organelle connectivity and copy number in healthy cells and during apoptosis. In budding yeast, mitochondrial shape is also maintained by proteins acting in the tubulation pathway. Novel proteins and pathways that control mitochondrial dynamics continue to be discovered, indicating that the mechanisms governing this organelle's behavior are more sophisticated than previously appreciated. Here we review recent advances in the field of mitochondrial dynamics and highlight the importance of these pathways to human health.
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