Mitochondrial compartmentalization: emerging themes in structure and function

Joseph C. Iovine, Steven M. Claypool, Nathan N. Alder

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Within cellular structures, compartmentalization is the concept of spatial segregation of macromolecules, metabolites, and biochemical pathways. Therefore, this concept bridges organellar structure and function. Mitochondria are morphologically complex, partitioned into several subcompartments by a topologically elaborate two-membrane system. They are also dynamically polymorphic, undergoing morphogenesis events with an extent and frequency that is only now being appreciated. Thus, mitochondrial compartmentalization is something that must be considered both spatially and temporally. Here, we review new developments in how mitochondrial structure is established and regulated, the factors that underpin the distribution of lipids and proteins, and how they spatially demarcate locations of myriad mitochondrial processes. Consistent with its pre-eminence, disturbed mitochondrial compartmentalization contributes to the dysfunction associated with heritable and aging-related diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)902-917
Number of pages16
JournalTrends in biochemical sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • bioenergetics
  • cristae
  • macromolecular trafficking
  • mitochondria
  • morphogenesis
  • ultrastructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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