Mitophagy is a form of macroautophagy that selectively degrades damaged mitochondria. Double-membraned autophagosomes enclose whole mitochondria, or selectively target the damaged areas. Autophagosomes then fuse with lysosomes for degradation.

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News and Comment

  • News & Views |

    Compromised clearance of dysfunctional mitochondria, through the process of mitophagy, has garnered attention as an essential contributor to aging and neurodegeneration. Schmid and colleagues1 reveal that genetic enhancement of mitophagy via neuronal overexpression of BNIP3 alleviates brain aging and prolongs healthspan in fruit flies.

    • Sofie Lautrup
    •  & Evandro F. Fang
    Nature Aging 2, 463-464
  • News & Views |

    Mitochondrial fission in macrophages is essential for the phagocytosis of tumor cells. Resistance of tumor cells to phagocytosis involves overexpression of GFPT2, an enzyme involved in glutamine metabolism; this results in lower nutrient availability for macrophages to support mitochondrial fission and prevents assembly of the phagocytic machinery.

    Nature Cancer 3, 384-385
  • News & Views |

    Obesity is associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and chronic metabolic derailment. Cho et al. report that elevated adipose expression of the Hippo kinases STK3 and STK4 (STK3/4) in obesity and type 2 diabetes decreases the mass and oxidative capacity of adipocyte mitochondria. Genetic or pharmacological inhibition of STK3/4 restores mitochondrial mass and function in adipocytes and improves glucose homeostasis in mice with diet-induced obesity. These findings support STK3/4 as new targets for obesity-related diseases.

    • Kathrin Maedler
    •  & Amin Ardestani
    Nature Metabolism 3, 295-296