Prohibitins are ubiquitous, evolutionarily conserved proteins that are mainly localized in mitochondria. The mitochondrial prohibitin complex comprises two subunits, PHB1 and PHB2. These two proteins assemble into a ring-like macromolecular structure at the inner mitochondrial membrane and are implicated in diverse cellular processes: from mitochondrial biogenesis and function to cell death and replicative senescence. In humans, prohibitins have been associated with various types of cancer. While their biochemical function remains poorly understood, studies in organisms ranging from yeast to mammals have provided significant insights into the role of the prohibitin complex in mitochondrial biogenesis and metabolism. Here we review recent studies and discuss their implications for deciphering the function of prohibitins in mitochondria. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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