Mitochondria—the intracellular powerhouse in which nutrients are converted into energy in the form of ATP or heat—are highly dynamic, double-membraned organelles that harness a plethora of cellular functions that sustain energy metabolism and homeostasis. Exciting new discoveries now indicate that the maintenance of this ever changing and functionally pleiotropic organelle is particularly relevant in terminally differentiated cells that are highly dependent on aerobic metabolism. Given the central role in maintaining metabolic and physiological homeostasis, dysregulation of the mitochondrial network might therefore confer a potentially devastating vulnerability to high-energy requiring cell types, contributing to a broad variety of hereditary and acquired diseases. In this Review, we highlight the biological functions of mitochondria-localized enzymes from the perspective of understanding—and potentially reversing—the pathophysiology of inherited disorders affecting the homeostasis of the mitochondrial network and cellular metabolism. Using methylmalonic acidemia as a paradigm of complex mitochondrial dysfunction, we discuss how mitochondrial directed-signaling circuitries govern the homeostasis and physiology of specialized cell types and how these may be disturbed in disease. This Review also provides a critical analysis of affected tissues, potential molecular mechanisms, and novel cellular and animal models of methylmalonic acidemia which are being used to develop new therapeutic options for this disease. These insights might ultimately lead to new therapeutics, not only for methylmalonic acidemia, but also for other currently intractable mitochondrial diseases, potentially transforming our ability to regulate homeostasis and health.