Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Mitochondrial genome and epigenome: two sides of the same coin
Academic Editor: Mikhail F Alexeyev
The involvement of mitochondrial content, structure and function as well as of the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) in cell biology, by participating in the main processes occurring in the cells, has been a topic of intense interest for many years. More specifically, the progressive accumulation of variations in mtDNA of post-mitotic tissues represents a major contributing factor to both physiological and pathological phenotypes. Recently, an epigenetic overlay on mtDNA genetics is emerging, as demonstrated by the implication of the mitochondrial genome in the regulation of the intracellular epigenetic landscape being itself object of epigenetic modifications. Indeed, in vitro and population studies strongly suggest that, similarly to nuclear DNA, also mtDNA is subject to methylation and hydroxymethylation. It follows that the mitochondrial-nucleus cross talk and mitochondrial retrograde signaling in cellular properties require a concerted functional cooperation between genetic and epigenetic changes. The present paper aims to review the current advances in mitochondrial epigenetics studies and the increasing indication of mtDNA methylation status as an attractive biomarker for peculiar pathological phenotypes and environmental exposure.