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In Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. Systems biology and medicine

Intracellular organelles are membrane-bound and biochemically distinct compartments constructed to serve specialized functions in eukaryotic cells. Through extensive interactions, they form networks to coordinate and integrate their specialized functions for cell physiology. A fundamental property of these organelle networks is that they constantly undergo dynamic organization via membrane fusion and fission to remodel their internal connections and to mediate direct material exchange between compartments. The dynamic organization not only enables them to serve critical physiological functions adaptively but also differentiates them from many other biological networks such as gene regulatory networks and cell signaling networks. This review examines this fundamental property of the organelle networks from a systems point of view. The focus is exclusively on homotypic networks formed by mitochondria, lysosomes, endosomes, and the endoplasmic reticulum, respectively. First, key mechanisms that drive the dynamic organization of these networks are summarized. Then, several distinct organizational properties of these networks are highlighted. Next, spatial properties of the dynamic organization of these networks are emphasized, and their functional implications are examined. Finally, some representative molecular machineries that mediate the dynamic organization of these networks are surveyed. Overall, the dynamic organization of intracellular organelle networks is emerging as a fundamental and unifying paradigm in the internal organization of eukaryotic cells. This article is categorized under: Models of Systems Properties and Processes > Cellular Models Analytical and Computational Methods > Computational Methods Laboratory Methods and Technologies > Macromolecular Interactions, Methods Metabolic Diseases > Molecular and Cellular Physiology.

Li Wenjing, Zhang Shuhao, Yang Ge


dynamic organization, intracellular organelle network, molecular machinery, organelle interaction, systems modeling