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REVIEW: The Mitochondrion as Janus Bifrons

D. B. Zorov*, N. K. Isaev, E. Yu. Plotnikov, L. D. Zorova, E. V. Stelmashook, A. K. Vasileva, A. A. Arkhangelskaya, and T. G. Khrjapenkova

Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119992 Moscow, Russia; fax: (495) 939-3181; E-mail: zorov@genebee.msu.su

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received June 18, 2007
The signaling function of mitochondria is considered with a special emphasis on their role in the regulation of redox status of the cell, possibly determining a number of pathologies including cancer and aging. The review summarizes the transport role of mitochondria in energy supply to all cellular compartments (mitochondria as an electric cable in the cell), the role of mitochondria in plastic metabolism of the cell including synthesis of heme, steroids, iron-sulfur clusters, and reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. Mitochondria also play an important role in the Ca2+-signaling and the regulation of apoptotic cell death. Knowledge of mechanisms responsible for apoptotic cell death is important for the strategy for prevention of unwanted degradation of postmitotic cells such as cardiomyocytes and neurons.
KEY WORDS: mitochondria, redox potential, reactive oxygen species, cancer, proliferation, differentiation

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297907100094