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REVIEW: Mitoptosis, Twenty Years After

K. G. Lyamzaev1, D. A. Knorre1,2, and B. V. Chernyak1,a*

1Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119991 Moscow, Russia

2Institute of Molecular Medicine, Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, 119991 Moscow, Russia

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received July 8, 2020; Revised August 14, 2020; Accepted August 14, 2020
In 1999 V. P. Skulachev proposed the term “mitoptosis” to refer to the programmed elimination of mitochondria in living cells. According to the initial thought, mitoptosis serves to protect cells from malfunctioning of the damaged mitochondria. At the same time, a new mechanism of the complete mitochondria elimination was found under the conditions of massive mitochondrial damage associated with oxidative stress. In this experimental model, mitochondrial cluster formation in the perinuclear region leads to the formation of “mitoptotic body” surrounded by a single-layer membrane and subsequent release of mitochondria from the cell. Later, it was found that mitoptosis plays an important role in various normal and pathological processes that are not necessarily associated with the mitochondrial damage. It was found that mitoptosis takes place during cell differentiation, self-maintenance of hematopoietic stem cells, metabolic remodelling, and elimination of the paternal mitochondria in organisms with the maternal inheritance of the mitochondrial DNA. Moreover, the associated with mitoptosis release of mitochondrial components into the blood may be involved in the transmission of signals between cells, but also leads to the development of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Mitoptosis can be attributed to the asymmetric inheritance of mitochondria in the division of yeast and some animal cells, when the defective mitochondria are transferred to one of the newly formed cells. Finally, a specific form of mitoptosis appears to be selective elimination of mitochondria with deleterious mutations in whole follicular ovarian cells in mammals. During formation of the primary follicle, the mitochondrial DNA copy number is significantly reduced. After division, the cells that receive predominantly mitochondria with deleterious mutations in their mtDNA die, thereby reducing the likelihood of transmission of these mutations to offspring. Further study of the mechanisms of mitoptosis in normal and pathological conditions is important both for understanding the processes of development and aging, and for designing therapeutic approaches for inflammatory, neurodegenerative and other diseases.
KEY WORDS: mitochondria, mitoptosis, mitophagy, membrane potential, apoptosis, inflammation, differentiation, asymmetric inheritance of mitochondria

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297920120020