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Plant Cell Rep. 2011 Feb;30(2):239-44. doi: 10.1007/s00299-010-0926-5. Epub 2010 Oct 8.

MIRO1 influences the morphology and intracellular distribution of mitochondria during embryonic cell division in Arabidopsis.

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Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 1-1-1 Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan.


Regulating the morphology and intracellular distribution of mitochondria is essential for embryo development in animals. However, the importance of such regulation is not clearly defined in plants. The evolutionarily conserved Miro proteins are known to be involved in the regulation of mitochondrial morphology and motility. We previously demonstrated that MIRO1, an Arabidopsis thaliana orthologue of the Miro protein, is required for embryogenesis. An insertional mutation in the MIRO1 gene causes arrest of embryonic cell division, leading to abortion of the embryo at an early stage. Here we investigated the role of MIRO1 in the regulation of mitochondrial behaviour in egg cells and early-stage embryos using GFP-labeled mitochondria. Two-photon laser scanning microscopy revealed that, in miro1 mutant egg cells, mitochondria are abnormally enlarged, although egg cell formation is nearly unaffected. After fertilization and subsequent zygotic cell division, the homozygous miro1 mutant two-celled embryo contained a significantly reduced number of mitochondria in its apical cell compared with the wild type, suggesting that the miro1 mutation inhibits proper intracellular distribution of mitochondria, leading to an arrest of embryonic cell division. Our findings suggest that proper mitochondrial morphology and intracellular distribution are maintained by MIRO1 and are vital for embryonic cell division.

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