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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2010 May;1803(5):564-74. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2010.03.006. Epub 2010 Mar 15.

Human Miltons associate with mitochondria and induce microtubule-dependent remodeling of mitochondrial networks.

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Department of Biochemistry, La Trobe University, 3086 Melbourne, Australia.


Proper mitochondrial distribution is crucial for cell function. In Drosophila, mitochondrial transport is facilitated by Miro and Milton, which regulate mitochondrial attachment to microtubules via kinesin heavy chain. Mammals contain two sequence orthologs of Milton however, they have been ascribed various functions in intracellular transport. In this report, we show that the human Miltons target to mitochondria irrespective of whether they are linked to GFP at their C- or N-termini. Their ectopic expression induces the formation of extended mitochondrial tubules as well as large bulbous-like mitochondria with narrow tubular membrane necks that connect them to the mitochondrial mass. The mitochondrial extensions appear highly dynamic and their formation relies on the presence of microtubules. Using the photoswitchable fluorescent protein Dendra2 targeted to the mitochondrial matrix, we found that the mitochondrial extensions and bulbous mitochondria are fused with neighboring regions of the network. Truncation analysis of huMilton1 revealed that the N-terminal region, inclusive of the coiled-coil segment could localize to microtubules, suggesting that Milton attachment to kinesin occurs independent of Miro or mitochondrial attachment. In addition, we show that the huMiltons have the capacity to self-interact and can also facilitate mitochondrial recruitment of a cytosolic Miro mutant. We conclude that the human Miltons are important mediators of the mitochondrial trafficking machinery.

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