Miro2 tethers the ER to mitochondria to promote mitochondrial fusion in tobacco leaf epidermal cells

Rhiannon R White, Congping Lin, Ian Leaves, Inês G Castro, Jeremy Metz, Benji C Bateman, Stanley W Botchway, Andrew D Ward, Peter Ashwin, Imogen Sparkes

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Mitochondria are highly pleomorphic, undergoing rounds of fission and fusion. Mitochondria are essential for energy conversion, with fusion favouring higher energy demand. Unlike fission, the molecular components involved in mitochondrial fusion in plants are unknown. Here, we show a role for the GTPase Miro2 in mitochondria interaction with the ER and its impacts on mitochondria fusion and motility. Mutations in AtMiro2's GTPase domain indicate that the active variant results in larger, fewer mitochondria which are attached more readily to the ER when compared with the inactive variant. These results are contrary to those in metazoans where Miro predominantly controls mitochondrial motility, with additional GTPases affecting fusion. Synthetically controlling mitochondrial fusion rates could fundamentally change plant physiology by altering the energy status of the cell. Furthermore, altering tethering to the ER could have profound effects on subcellular communication through altering the exchange required for pathogen defence.

Original languageEnglish
Article number161 (2020)
Number of pages8
JournalCommunications Biology
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2020


  • endoplasmic reticulum
  • mitochondria
  • plant cell biology

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