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Regulation of long-distance transport of mitochondria along microtubules

Melkov, Anna, Abdu, Uri
Cellular and molecular life sciences 2018 v.75 no.2 pp. 163-176
dynein ATPase, epithelial cells, kinesin, microtubules, mitochondria, molecular motor proteins, neurons, physiological transport, travel
Mitochondria are cellular organelles of crucial importance, playing roles in cellular life and death. In certain cell types, such as neurons, mitochondria must travel long distances so as to meet metabolic demands of the cell. Mitochondrial movement is essentially microtubule (MT) based and is executed by two main motor proteins, Dynein and Kinesin. The organization of the cellular MT network and the identity of motors dictate mitochondrial transport. Tight coupling between MTs, motors, and the mitochondria is needed for the organelle precise localization. Two adaptor proteins are involved directly in mitochondria-motor coupling, namely Milton known also as TRAK, which is the motor adaptor, and Miro, which is the mitochondrial protein. Here, we discuss the active mitochondria transport process, as well as motor–mitochondria coupling in the context of MT organization in different cell types. We focus on mitochondrial trafficking in different cell types, specifically neurons, migrating cells, and polarized epithelial cells.