Correct mitochondrial dynamics are essential to neuronal function. These dynamics include mitochondrial trafficking and quality-control systems that maintain a precisely distributed and healthy mitochondrial network, so that local energy demands or Ca2+-buffering requirements within the intricate architecture of the neuron can be met. Mitochondria make use of molecular machinery that couples these organelles to microtubule-based transport via kinesin and dynein motors, facilitating the required long-range movements. These motors in turn are associated with a variety of adaptor proteins allowing additional regulation of the complex dynamics demonstrated by these organelles. Over recent years, a number of new motor and adaptor proteins have been added to a growing list of components implicated in mitochondrial trafficking and distribution. Yet, there are major questions that remain to be addressed about the regulation of mitochondrial transport complexes. One of the core components of this machinery, the mitochondrial Rho GTPases Miro1 (mitochondrial Rho 1) and Miro2 have received special attention due to their Ca2+-sensing and GTPase abilities, marking Miro an exceptional candidate for co-ordinating mitochondrial dynamics and intracellular signalling pathways. In the present paper, we discuss the wealth of literature regarding Miro-mediated mitochondrial transport in neurons and recently highlighted involvement of Miro proteins in mitochondrial turnover, emerging as a key process affected in neurodegeneration.
Mitochondrial trafficking in neurons and the role of the Miro family of GTPase proteins
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Nicol Birsa, Rosalind Norkett, Nathalie Higgs, Guillermo Lopez-Domenech, Josef T. Kittler; Mitochondrial trafficking in neurons and the role of the Miro family of GTPase proteins. Biochem Soc Trans 1 December 2013; 41 (6): 1525–1531. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/BST20130234
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