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Mitochondria are far more than the ‘powerhouses’ of eukaryotic cells producing the adenosine triphosphate necessary for life (McBride et al., 2006). Their metabolism is dictated by their proteome, which is dynamic, responding to signals and the physiology of the cell, and their metabolic role includes supplying intermediates for anabolic pathways that produce essential metabolites, and catabolic pathways for disposal or recycling of excess or toxic metabolites. Their role in signalling is now evident and they participate in cellular growth, differentiation and death. Source text: Smith et al., 2012.