Inter-Organelle Membrane Contact Sites and Mitochondrial Quality Control during Aging: A Geroscience View

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Mitochondrial dysfunction and failing mitochondrial quality control (MQC) are major determinants of aging. Far from being standalone organelles, mitochondria are intricately related with cellular other compartments, including lysosomes. The intimate relationship between mitochondria and lysosomes is reflected by the fact that lysosomal degradation of dysfunctional mitochondria is the final step of mitophagy. Inter-organelle membrane contact sites also allow bidirectional communication between mitochondria and lysosomes as part of nondegradative pathways. This interaction establishes a functional unit that regulates metabolic signaling, mitochondrial dynamics, and, hence, MQC. Contacts of mitochondria with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) have also been described. ER-mitochondrial interactions are relevant to Ca2+ homeostasis, transfer of phospholipid precursors to mitochondria, and integration of apoptotic signaling. Many proteins involved in mitochondrial contact sites with other organelles also participate to degradative MQC pathways. Hence, a comprehensive assessment of mitochondrial dysfunction during aging requires a thorough evaluation of degradative and nondegradative inter-organelle pathways. Here, we present a geroscience overview on (1) degradative MQC pathways, (2) nondegradative processes involving inter-organelle tethering, (3) age-related changes in inter-organelle degradative and nondegradative pathways, and (4) relevance of MQC failure to inflammaging and age-related conditions, with a focus on Parkinson's disease as a prototypical geroscience condition.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 3 2020


  • Aging/genetics
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria/metabolism
  • Mitochondrial Dynamics/genetics
  • Quality Control


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