Mitochondrial functions are essential for life, critical for development, maintenance of stem cells, adaptation to physiological changes, responses to stress, and aging. The complexity of mitochondrial biogenesis requires coordinated nuclear and mitochondrial gene expression, owing to the need of stoichiometrically assemble the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) system for ATP production. It requires, in addition, the import of a large number of proteins from the cytosol to keep optimal mitochondrial function and metabolism. Moreover, mitochondria require lipid supply for membrane biogenesis, while it is itself essential for the synthesis of membrane lipids. To achieve mitochondrial homeostasis, multiple mechanisms of quality control have evolved to ensure that mitochondrial function meets cell, tissue, and organismal demands. Herein, we give an overview of mitochondrial mechanisms that are activated in response to stress, including mitochondrial dynamics, mitophagy and the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt
). We then discuss the role of these stress responses in aging, with particular focus on Caenorhabditis elegans
. Finally, we review observations that point to the mitochondrial prohibitin (PHB) complex as a key player in mitochondrial homeostasis, being essential for mitochondrial biogenesis and degradation, and responding to mitochondrial stress. Understanding how mitochondria responds to stress and how such responses are regulated is pivotal to combat aging and disease.
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