Mmb1p binds mitochondria to dynamic microtubules

Chuanhai Fu, Deeptee Jain, Judite Costa, Guilhem Velve-Casquillas, Phong T. Tran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Background: Mitochondria form a dynamic tubular network within the cell. Proper mitochondria movement and distribution are critical for their localized function in cell metabolism, growth, and survival. In mammalian cells, mechanisms of mitochondria positioning appear dependent on the microtubule cytoskeleton, with kinesin or dynein motors carrying mitochondria as cargos and distributing them throughout the microtubule network. Interestingly, the timescale of microtubule dynamics occurs in seconds, and the timescale of mitochondria distribution occurs in minutes. How does the cell couple these two time constants? Results: Fission yeast also relies on microtubules for mitochondria distribution. We report here a new microtubule-dependent but motor-independent mechanism for proper mitochondria positioning in fission yeast. We identify the protein mmb1p, which binds to mitochondria and microtubules. mmb1p attaches the tubular mitochondria to the microtubule lattice at multiple discrete interaction sites. mmb1 deletion causes mitochondria to aggregate, with the long-term consequence of defective mitochondria distribution and cell death. mmb1p decreases microtubule dynamicity. Conclusions: mmb1p is a new microtubule-mitochondria binding protein. We propose that mmb1p acts to couple long-term mitochondria distribution to short-term microtubule dynamics by attenuating microtubule dynamics, thus enhancing the mitochondria-microtubule interaction time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1431-1439
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 13 2011


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