, Volume 237, Issue 2, pp 429-439
Date: 14 Sep 2012

How do plants make mitochondria?

Abstract

Plant mitochondria can differ in size, shape, number and protein content across different tissue types and over development. These differences are a result of signaling and regulatory processes that ensure mitochondrial function is tuned in a cell-specific manner to support proper plant growth and development. In the last decade, the processes involved in mitochondrial biogenesis are becoming clearer, including; how dormant seeds transition from empty promitochondria to fully functional mitochondria with extensive cristae structures and various biochemical activities, the regulation of nuclear genes encoding mitochondrial proteins via regulators of the diurnal cycle in plants, the mitochondrial stress response, the targeting of proteins to mitochondria and other organelles and connections between the respiratory chain and protein import complexes. All these findings indicate that mitochondrial function is a part of an integrated cellular network, and communication between mitochondria and other cellular processes extends beyond the known exchange or transport of metabolites. Our current knowledge now needs to be used to gain more insight into the molecular components at various levels of this hierarchical and complex regulatory and communication network, so that mitochondrial function can be predicted and modified in a rational manner.

A contribution to the Special Issue on Evolution and Biogenesis of Chloroplasts and Mitochondria.