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REVIEW: Intercellular Transfer of Mitochondria

E. Y. Plotnikov1*, V. A. Babenko2, D. N. Silachev1, L. D. Zorova3, T. G. Khryapenkova1, E. S. Savchenko4, I. B. Pevzner1,2, and D. B. Zorov1

1Lomonosov Moscow State University, Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, 119991 Moscow, Russia; fax: +7 (495) 939-0338; E-mail: plotnikov@genebee.msu.ru

2Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Bioengineering and Bioinformatics, 119991 Moscow, Russia

3Lomonosov Moscow State University, International Laser Center, 119991 Moscow, Russia

4Lomonosov Moscow State University, Biological Faculty, 119991 Moscow, Russia

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received December 2, 2014
Recently described phenomenon of intercellular transfer of mitochondria attracts the attention of researchers in both fundamental science and translational medicine. In particular, the transfer of mitochondria results in the initiation of stem cell differentiation, in reprogramming of differentiated cells, and in the recovery of the lost mitochondrial function in recipient cells. However, the mechanisms of mitochondria transfer between cells and conditions inducing this phenomenon are studied insufficiently. It is still questionable whether this phenomenon exists in vivo. Moreover, it is unclear, how the transfer of mitochondria into somatic cells is affected by the ubiquitination system that, for example, is responsible for the elimination of “alien” mitochondria of the spermatozoon in the oocyte during fertilization. Studies on these processes can provide a powerful incentive for development of strategies for treatment of mitochondria-associated pathologies and give rise a new avenue for therapeutic approaches based on “mitochondrial transplantation”.
KEY WORDS: mitochondria, stem cells, axonal transport, tunneling nanotubes, differentiation

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297915050041