Cardiolipin and mitochondrial phosphatidylethanolamine have overlapping functions in mitochondrial fusion in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

The two non-bilayer forming mitochondrial phospholipids cardiolipin (CL) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) play crucial roles in maintaining mitochondrial morphology. We have previously shown that CL and PE have overlapping functions and the loss of both is synthetically lethal. Because the lack of CL does not lead to defects in the mitochondrial ...
network in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we hypothesized that PE may compensate for CL in the maintenance of mitochondrial tubular morphology and fusion. To test this hypothesis, we constructed a conditional mutant crd1Δpsd1Δ containing null alleles of CRD1 (CL synthase) and PSD1 (mitochondrial phosphatidylserine decarboxylase), in which the wild type CRD1 gene is expressed on a plasmid under control of the TETOFF promoter. In the presence of tetracycline, the mutant exhibited highly fragmented mitochondria, loss of mtDNA, and reduced membrane potential, characteristic of fusion mutants. Deletion of DNM1, required for mitochondrial fission, restored the tubular mitochondrial morphology. Loss of CL and mitochondrial PE led to reduced levels of small and large isoforms of the fusion protein Mgm1p, possibly accounting for the fusion defect. Taken together, these data demonstrate for the first time in vivo that CL and mitochondrial PE are required to maintain tubular mitochondrial morphology and have overlapping functions in mitochondrial fusion.
Date: Mar. 23, 2012
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