A conserved mechanism for mitochondria-dependent dynein anchoring

Lauren M. Kraft, Laura L. Lackner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Mitochondrial anchors have functions that extend beyond simply positioning mitochondria. In budding yeast, mitochondria drive the assembly of the mitochondrial anchor protein Num1 into clusters, which serve to anchor mitochondria as well as dynein to the cell cortex. Here, we explore a conserved role for mitochondria in dynein anchoring by examining the tethering functions of the evolutionarily distant Schizosaccharomyces pombe Num1 homologue. In addition to its function in dynein anchoring, we find that S. pombe Num1, also known as Mcp5, interacts with and tethers mitochondria to the plasma membrane in S. pombe and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Thus, the mitochondria and plasma membrane-binding domains of the Num1 homologues, as well as the membrane features these domains recognize, are conserved. In S. pombe, we find that mitochondria impact the assembly and cellular distribution of Num1 clusters and that Num1 clusters actively engaged in mitochondrial tethering serve as cortical attachment sites for dynein. Thus, mitochondria play a critical and conserved role in the formation and distribution of dynein-anchoring sites at the cell cortex and, as a consequence, impact dynein function. These findings shed light on an ancient mechanism of mitochondria-dependent dynein anchoring that is conserved over more than 450 million years of evolution, raising the intriguing possibility that the role mitochondria play in dynein anchoring and function extends beyond yeast to higher eukaryotes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)691-702
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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