Synapses are packed with mitochondria, complex organelles with roles in energy metabolism, cell signaling, and calcium homeostasis. However, the precise mechanisms by which mitochondria influence neurotransmission remain undefined. In this review, the authors discuss pharmacological and genetic analyses of synaptic mitochondrial function, focusing on their role in Ca2+ buffering and ATP production. Additionally, they will summarize recent data that implicate synaptic mitochondria in the regulation of neurotransmitter release during intense neuronal activity and link these findings to the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases that feature disrupted synaptic mitochondria, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and hereditary spastic paraplegia.
- Reserve Pool