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The Ras related GTPase Miro is not required for mitochondrial transport in Dictyostelium discoideum

Elias, Marek; von Kleist-Retzow, Juergen-Christoph; River, Francisco; Rivero Crespo, Francisco; Vlahou, Georgia; Eliáš, Marek; von Kleist-Retzow, Jürgen-Christoph; Wiesner, Rudolf J.; Rivero, Francisco


Marek Elias

Juergen-Christoph von Kleist-Retzow

Francisco River

Georgia Vlahou

Marek Eliáš

Jürgen-Christoph von Kleist-Retzow

Rudolf J. Wiesner


Ras-related GTPases of the Miro family have been implicated in mitochondrial homeostasis and microtubule-dependent transport. They consist of two GTP-binding domains separated by calcium-binding motifs and of a C-terminal transmembrane domain that targets the protein to the outer mitochondrial membrane. We disrupted the single Miro-encoding gene in Dictyostelium discoideum and observed a substantial growth defect that we attribute to a decreased mitochondrial mass and cellular ATP content. However, mutant cells even showed an increased rate of oxygen consumption, while glucose consumption, mitochondrial transmembrane potential and production of reactive oxygen species were unaltered. Processes characteristic of the multicellular stage of the D. discoideum life cycle were also unaltered. Although mitochondria occasionally use microtubules for transport in D. discoideum, their size and distribution were not visibly affected. We found Miro in all branches of the eukaryotic tree with the exception of a few protist lineages (mainly those lacking typical mitochondria). Trypanosomatids and ciliates possess structurally unique homologs lacking the N-terminal or the C-terminal GTPase domain, respectively. We propose that in D. discoideum, as in yeasts and plants, Miro plays roles in mitochondrial homeostasis, but the ability to build a complex that regulates its association to kinesin for microtubule-dependent transport probably arose in metazoans.


Vlahou, G., Eliáš, M., von Kleist-Retzow, J., Wiesner, R. J., & Rivero, F. (2011). The Ras related GTPase Miro is not required for mitochondrial transport in Dictyostelium discoideum. European journal of cell biology, 90(4), 342-355.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 26, 2010
Online Publication Date Dec 4, 2010
Publication Date 2011-04
Print ISSN 0171-9335
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 90
Issue 4
Pages 342-355
Keywords Pathology and Forensic Medicine; Cell Biology; Histology; General Medicine
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