Mitochondria are highly dynamic organelles with complex structural features which play several important cellular functions, such as the production of energy by oxidative phosphorylation, the regulation of calcium homeostasis, or the control of programmed cell death (PCD). Given its essential role in neuronal viability, alterations in mitochondrial biology can lead to neuron dysfunction and cell death. Defects in mitochondrial respiration have long been implicated in the etiology and pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD). However, the role of mitochondria in PD extends well beyond defective respiration and also involves perturbations in mitochondrial dynamics, leading to alterations in mitochondrial morphology, intracellular trafficking, or quality control. Whether a primary or secondary event, mitochondrial dysfunction holds promise as a potential therapeutic target to halt the progression of dopaminergic neurodegeneration in PD. © 2012 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; all rights reserved.