Mitochondrial dynamics in macrophages: divide to conquer or unite to survive?

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Mitochondria have long been appreciated as the metabolic hub of cells. Emerging evidence also posits these organelles as hubs for innate immune signalling and activation, particularly in macrophages. Macrophages are front-line cellular defenders against endogenous and exogenous threats in mammals. These cells use an array of receptors and downstream signalling molecules to respond to a diverse range of stimuli, with mitochondrial biology implicated in many of these responses. Mitochondria have the capacity to both divide through mitochondrial fission and coalesce through mitochondrial fusion. Mitochondrial dynamics, the balance between fission and fusion, regulate many cellular functions, including innate immune pathways in macrophages. In these cells, mitochondrial fission has primarily been associated with pro-inflammatory responses and metabolic adaptation, so can be considered as a combative strategy utilised by immune cells. In contrast, mitochondrial fusion has a more protective role in limiting cell death under conditions of nutrient starvation. Hence, fusion can be viewed as a cellular survival strategy. Here we broadly review the role of mitochondria in macrophage functions, with a focus on how regulated mitochondrial dynamics control different functional responses in these cells.




Afroz, S. F., Raven, K. D., Lawrence, G. M. E. P., Kapetanovic, R., Schroder, K., & Sweet, M. J. (2023, February 1). Mitochondrial dynamics in macrophages: divide to conquer or unite to survive? Biochemical Society Transactions. Portland Press Ltd.

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