The intramitochondrial dynamin-related GTPase, Mgm1p, is a component of a protein complex that mediates mitochondrial fusion

Edith D. Wong, Jennifer A. Wagner, Sidney V. Scott, Voytek Okreglak, Timothy J. Holewinske, Ann Cassidy-Stone, Jodi Nunnari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

189 Scopus citations


A balance between fission and fusion events determines the morphology of mitochondria. In yeast, mitochondrial fission is regulated by the outer membrane-associated dynamin-related GTPase, Dnm1p. Mitochondrial fusion requires two integral outer membrane components, Fzo1p and Ugo1p. Interestingly, mutations in a second mitochondrial-associated dynamin-related GTPase, Mgm1p, produce similar phenotypes to fzo1 and ugo cells. Specifically, mutations in MGM1 cause mitochondrial fragmentation and a loss of mitochondrial DNA that are suppressed by abolishing DNM1-dependent fission. In contrast to fzo1ts mutants, blocking DNM1-dependent fission restores mitochondrial fusion in mgm1ts cells during mating. Here we show that blocking DNM1-dependent fission in Δmgm1 cells fails to restore mitochondrial fusion during mating. To examine the role of Mgm1p in mitochondrial fusion, we looked for molecular interactions with known fusion components. Immunoprecipitation experiments revealed that Mgm1p is associated with both Ugo1p and Fzo1p in mitochondria, and that Ugo1p and Fzo1p also are associated with each other. In addition, genetic analysis of specific mgm1 alleles indicates that Mgm1p's GTPase and GTPase effector domains are required for its ability to promote mitochondrial fusion and that Mgm1p self-interacts, suggesting that it functions in fusion as a self-assembling GTPase. Mgm1p's localization within mitochondria has been controversial. Using protease protection and immuno-EM, we have shown previously that Mgm1p localizes to the intermembrane space, associated with the inner membrane. To further test our conclusions, we have used a novel method using the tobacco etch virus protease and confirm that Mgm1p is present in the intermembrane space compartment in vivo. Taken together, these data suggest a model where Mgm1p functions in fusion to remodel the inner membrane and to connect the inner membrane to the outer membrane via its interactions with Ugo1p and Fzo1p, thereby helping to coordinate the behavior of the four mitochondrial membranes during fusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-311
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 3 2003


  • Dynamin-related GTPase
  • Fusion
  • Intermembrane space
  • Membranes
  • Mitochondria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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