PerspectiveCell Biology

Connecting Organelles

Science  24 Jul 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5939, pp. 403-404
DOI: 10.1126/science.1178016

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Summary

Mitochondria are organelles that form a dynamic network in most eukaryotic cell types. Although originally considered to be semi-autonomous powerhouses, they are intimately connected to the rest of the cell through metabolic and signaling pathways, and play a central role in programmed cell death (apoptosis). Sites of close proximity between mitochondria and the tubular network of the endoplasmic reticulum have long been known from electron micrographs, yet their molecular nature remained elusive. On page 477 in this issue, Kornmann et al. (1) show that a complex of proteins that controls mitochondrial shape and protein biogenesis (24) bridge these two organelles.