Mitochondria are essential organelles for cell survival, programmed cell death, and autophagy. They undergo cycles of fission and fusion, which are subverted by infectious pathogens and altered in many human diseases. Mitochondrial fission is mediated by the dynamin‐related protein Drp1, but the precise mechanism of its action is not well understood. In the last and current issues of EMBO Reports, two new studies ,  reveal that the filamentous septin GTPases interact directly with Drp1, promoting mitochondrial fission. Moreover, mitochondria were found to promote the assembly of septin filaments into cages around cytosolic Shigella flexneri bacteria , which are targeted for autophagy. Thus, septins emerge as integral components of the machinery of mitochondrial fission and may pose a novel link between mitochondria and autophagy.
See also: A Sirianni et al (July 2016) and
A Pagliuso et al (June 2016)
Mitochondria are essential for cellular health and homeostasis as they produce energy in the form of ATP, activate apoptosis, and regulate autophagy. They are dynamic organelles that divide, fuse, and undergo cytoskeleton‐dependent transport. Maintaining a physiological balance between mitochondrial fission and fusion is important for cell survival. To date, a growing number of human diseases is attributed to alterations in mitochondria morphology and dynamics . Moreover, infectious pathogens subvert mitochondrial dynamics in order to evade innate immunity responses and/or to promote cell‐to‐cell spreading by inducing apoptosis .
Mitochondrial fusion and fission are mediated by proteins of the …