Mitochondria play crucial roles in programmed cell death and aging. Different stimuli activate distinct mitochondrion-dependent cell death pathways, and aging is associated with a progressive increase in mitochondrial damage, culminating in oxidative stress and cellular dysfunction. Mitochondria are highly dynamic organelles that constantly fuse and divide, forming either interconnected mitochondrial networks or separated fragmented mitochondria. These processes are believed to provide a mitochondrial quality control system and enable an effective adaptation of the mitochondrial compartment to the metabolic needs of the cell. The baker's yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is an established model for programmed cell death and aging research. The present review summarizes how mitochondrial morphology is altered on induction of cell death or on aging and how this correlates with the induction of different cell death pathways in yeast. We highlight the roles of the components of the mitochondrial fusion and fission machinery that affect and regulate cell death and aging.

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