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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2013, Article ID 139491, 6 pages
Review Article

Roles of Mitochondrial Dynamics under Stressful and Normal Conditions in Yeast Cells

1Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, Moscow State University, Vorobyevy Gory 1, Moscow 119992, Russia
2Institute of Mitoengineering, Moscow State University, Vorobyevy Gory 1, Moscow 119992, Russia
3Department of Genetic Medicine and Development, University of Geneva Medical School, 1 rue Michel-Servet, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland

Received 7 May 2013; Accepted 25 June 2013

Academic Editor: Cristina Mazzoni

Copyright © 2013 Dmitry A. Knorre et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Eukaryotic cells contain dynamic mitochondrial filaments: they fuse and divide. Here we summarize data on the protein machinery driving mitochondrial dynamics in yeast and also discuss the factors that affect the fusion-fission balance. Fission is a general stress response of cells, and in the case of yeast this response appears to be prosurvival. At the same time, even under normal conditions yeast mitochondria undergo continuous cycles of fusion and fission. This seems to be a futile cycle and also expensive from the energy point of view. Why does it exist? Benefits might be the same as in the case of sexual reproduction. Indeed, mixing and separating of mitochondrial content allows mitochondrial DNA to segregate and recombine randomly, leading to high variation in the numbers of mutations per individual mitochondrion. This opens a possibility for effective purifying selection-elimination of mitochondria highly contaminated by deleterious mutations. The beneficial action presumes a mechanism for removal of defective mitochondria. We argue that selective mitochondrial autophagy or asymmetrical distribution of mitochondria during cell division could be at the core of such mechanism.