A controlled regulation of mitochondrial mass through either the production (biogenesis) or the degradation (mitochondrial quality control) of the organelle represents a crucial step for proper mitochondrial and cell function. Key steps of mitochondrial biogenesis and quality control are overviewed, with an emphasis on the role of mitochondrial chaperones and proteases that keep mitochondria fully functional, provided the mitochondrial activity impairment is not excessive. In this case, the whole organelle is degraded by mitochondrial autophagy or “mitophagy.” Beside the maintenance of adequate mitochondrial abundance and functions for cell homeostasis, mitochondrial biogenesis might be enhanced, through discussed signaling pathways, in response to various physiological stimuli, like contractile activity, exposure to low temperatures, caloric restriction, and stem cells differentiation. In addition, mitochondrial dysfunction might also initiate a retrograde response, enabling cell adaptation through increased mitochondrial biogenesis. J. Cell. Physiol. 227: 2297–2310, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.