A study of mitochondrial signaling delves into the role of mitochondria beyond their well-known function in energy metabolism. The researchers focus on how mitochondria, as dynamic signaling hubs, coordinate diverse cellular processes.
The study explores how mitochondria signal through interorganellar contacts, vesicular trafficking, and metabolic transmission, revealing that mitochondrial regulation of immunometabolism, cell death, organelle dynamics, and neuroimmune interplay are critical determinants of neural health.
The researchers also discuss the role of mitochondria in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and during neuroinvasive infections like Zika virus. They highlight the importance of mitochondrial homeostasis, supported by compartmentalized processes that facilitate nanoscale proteostasis, as well as by the endolysosome system that can receive, digest, and recycle mitochondrial subcompartments or entire organelles.
These systems have also become integrated within mitochondrial signaling pathways to regulate metabolic plasticity. Physiological mitophagy in neural cells recycles mitochondria in response to metabolic signals and stressors, enabling both damage control and metabolic plasticity, such as the regulation of iron homeostasis.
The review concludes by highlighting how these distinct mitochondrial pathways converge to influence neurological health and contribute to disease pathology.