Mitochondria undergo continuous cycles of homotypic fusion and fission, which play an important role in controlling organelle morphology, copy number, and mitochondrial DNA maintenance. Because mitochondria cannot be generated de novo, the motility and distribution of these organelles are essential for their inheritance by daughter cells during division. Mitochondrial Rho (Miro) GTPases are outer mitochondrial membrane proteins with two GTPase domains and two EF-hand motifs, which act as receptors to regulate mitochondrial motility and inheritance. Here we report that although all of these domains are biochemically active, only the GTPase domains are required for the mitochondrial inheritance function of Gem1p (the yeast Miro ortholog). Mutations in either of the Gem1p GTPase domains completely abrogated mitochondrial inheritance, although the mutant proteins retained half the GTPase activity of the wild-type protein. Although mitochondrial inheritance was not dependent upon Ca2+ binding by the two EF-hands of Gem1p, a functional N-terminal EF-hand I motif was critical for stable expression of Gem1p in vivo. Our results suggest that basic features of Miro protein function are conserved from yeast to humans, despite differences in the cellular machinery mediating mitochondrial distribution in these organisms.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology