Mitochondrial retrograde signaling in the nervous system

Rachel J. Hunt, Joseph M. Bateman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Mitochondria generate the majority of cellular ATP and are essential for neuronal function. Loss of mitochondrial activity leads to primary mitochondrial diseases and may contribute to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Mitochondria communicate with the cell through mitochondrial retrograde signaling pathways. These signaling pathways are triggered by mitochondrial dysfunction and allow the organelle to control nuclear gene transcription. Neuronal mitochondrial retrograde signaling pathways have been identified in disease model systems and targeted to restore neuronal function and prevent neurodegeneration. In this review, we describe yeast and mammalian cellular models that have paved the way in the investigation of mitochondrial retrograde mechanisms. We then discuss the evidence for retrograde signaling in neurons and our current knowledge of retrograde signaling mechanisms in neuronal model systems. We argue that targeting mitochondrial retrograde pathways has the potential to lead to novel treatments for neurological diseases.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFEBS Letters
Early online date12 Nov 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Nov 2017


  • Mitochondria
  • Retrograde
  • Signaling


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