The role of mitochondria in anchoring dynein to the cell cortex extends beyond clustering the anchor protein

Heidi L. Schmit, Lauren M. Kraft, Conor F. Lee-Smith, Laura L. Lackner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Organelle distribution is regulated over the course of the cell cycle to ensure that each of the cells produced at the completion of division inherits a full complement of organelles. In yeast, the protein Num1 functions in the positioning and inheritance of two essential organelles, mitochondria and the nucleus. Specifically, Num1 anchors mitochondria as well as dynein to the cell cortex, and this anchoring activity is required for proper mitochondrial distribution and dynein-mediated nuclear inheritance. The assembly of Num1 into clusters at the plasma membrane is critical for both of its anchoring functions. We have previously shown that mitochondria drive the assembly of Num1 clusters and that these mitochondria-assembled Num1 clusters serve as cortical attachment sites for dynein. Here we further examine the role for mitochondria in dynein anchoring. Using a GFP-αGFP nanobody targeting system, we synthetically clustered Num1 on eisosomes to bypass the requirement for mitochondria in Num1 cluster formation. Utilizing this system, we found that mitochondria positively impact the ability of synthetically clustered Num1 to anchor dynein and support dynein function even when mitochondria are no longer required for cluster formation. Thus, the role of mitochondria in regulating dynein function extends beyond simply concentrating Num1; mitochondria likely promote an arrangement of Num1 within a cluster that is competent for dynein anchoring. This functional dependency between mitochondrial and nuclear positioning pathways likely serves as a mechanism to order and integrate major cellular organization systems over the course of the cell cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1345-1357
Number of pages13
JournalCell Cycle
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 3 2018


  • Mitochondrial positioning
  • dynein
  • inter-organelle contact sites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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