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Plant J. 2003 Nov;36(4):500-9.

The genetic control of plant mitochondrial morphology and dynamics.

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School of Biology, Sir Harold Mitchell Building, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9TH, Scotland, UK.


Little is known about the genetic control of mitochondrial morphology and dynamics in higher plants. We used a genetic screen involving fluorescence microscopic analysis of ethyl methane sulphonate (EMS)-mutated Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings expressing GFP targeted to mitochondria to isolate eight mutants displaying distinct perturbations of the normal mitochondrial morphology or distribution. We describe five mutants with distinct and unique mitochondrial phenotypes, which map to five different loci, not previously implicated in mitochondrial behaviour in plants. We have used a combination of forward and reverse genetics to identify one of the genes, friendly mitochondria (FMT), a homologue of the CluA gene of Dictyostelium discoideum, which is involved in the correct distribution of mitochondria in the cell. The five mutants constitute a powerful resource to aid our understanding of mitochondrial dynamics in higher plants.

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