Mitochondrial network structure homeostasis and cell death

Long long Xie, Feng Shi, Zheqiong Tan, Yueshuo Li, Ann M. Bode, Ya Cao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


Mitochondria are the major cellular energy-producing organelles and intracellular source of reactive oxygen species. These organelles are responsible for driving cell life and death through mitochondrial network structure homeostasis, which is determined by a balance of fission and fusion. Recent advances revealed that a number of components of the fission and fusion machinery, including dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), mitofusin1/2 (Mfn1/2) and Optic atrophy 1 (OPA1), that have been implicated in mitochondrial shape changes are indispensible for autophagy, apoptosis and necroptosis. Drp1 is the main regulator of mitochondrial fission and has become a key point of contention. The controversy focuses on whether Drp1 is directly involved in the regulation of cell death and, if involved, whether is it a stimulator or a negative regulator of cell death. Here, we examine the relevance of the homeostasis of the mitochondrial network structure in 3 different types of cell death, including autophagy, apoptosis and necroptosis. Furthermore, a variety of cancers often exhibit a fragmented mitochondrial phenotype. Thus, the fragmented ratio can reflect tumor progression that predicts prognosis and therapeutic response. In addition, we investigate whether the targeting of the mitochondrial fission protein Drp1 could be a novel therapeutic approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3686-3694
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
State Key Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China, Grant/ Award Number: 81430064; College Students’ Innovation Project of Central South University, Grant/Award Number: 2018zzts230 and 2018zzts234; Open- End Fund for the Valuable and Precision Instruments of Central South University, Grant/Award Number: CSUZC201744

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Authors. Cancer Science published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Japanese Cancer Association.


  • cancer
  • dynamin-related protein 1
  • fission
  • fusion
  • mitochondrial network structure homeostasis


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