To eat or not to eat mitochondria? How do host cells cope with mitophagy upon bacterial infection?

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Mitochondria fulfil a plethora of cellular functions ranging from energy production to regulation of inflammation and cell death control. The fundamental role of mitochondria makes them a target of choice for invading pathogens, with either an intracellular or extracellular lifestyle. Indeed, the modulation of mitochondrial functions by several bacterial pathogens has been shown to be beneficial for bacterial survival inside their host. However, so far, relatively little is known about the importance of mitochondrial recycling and degradation pathways through mitophagy in the outcome (success or failure) of bacterial infection. On the one hand, mitophagy could be considered as a defensive response triggered by the host upon infection to maintain mitochondrial homeostasis. However, on the other hand, the pathogen itself may initiate the host mitophagy to escape from mitochondrial-mediated inflammation or antibacterial oxidative stress. In this review, we will discuss the diversity of various mechanisms of mitophagy in a general context, as well as what is currently known about the different bacterial pathogens that have developed strategies to manipulate the host mitophagy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1011471
Number of pages19
JournalPlos Pathogens
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2023


  • Humans
  • Mitophagy/physiology
  • Mitochondria/metabolism
  • Bacterial Infections/metabolism
  • Inflammation/metabolism


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