Novel mitochondrial extensions provide evidence for a link between microtubule-directed movement and mitochondrial fission
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Mitochondrial dynamics play an important role in a large number of cellular processes. Previously, we reported that treatment of mammalian cells with the cysteine-alkylators, N-ethylmaleimide and ethacrynic acid, induced rapid mitochondrial fusion forming a large reticulum approximately 30 min after treatment. Here, we further investigated this phenomenon using a number of techniques including live-cell confocal microscopy. In live cells, drug-induced fusion coincided with a cessation of fast mitochondrial movement which was dependent on microtubules. During this loss of movement, thin mitochondrial tubules extending from mitochondria were also observed, which we refer to as 'mitochondrial extensions'. The formation of these mitochondrial extensions, which were not observed in untreated cells, depended on microtubules and was abolished by pretreatment with nocodazole. In this study, we provide evidence that these extensions result from of a block in mitochondrial fission combined with continued application of motile force by microtubule-dependent motor complexes. Our observations strongly suggest the existence of a link between microtubule-based mitochondrial trafficking and mitochondrial fission.
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