Tail-anchored (TA) membrane proteins have a potential risk to be mistargeted to the mitochondrial outer membrane (OM). Such mislocalized TA proteins can be extracted by the mitochondrial AAA-ATPase Msp1 from the OM and transferred to the ER for ER protein quality control involving ubiquitination by the ER-resident Doa10 complex. Yet it remains unclear how the extracted TA proteins can move to the ER crossing the aqueous cytosol and whether this transfer to the ER is essential for the clearance of mislocalized TA proteins. Here we show by time-lapse microscopy that mislocalized TA proteins, including an authentic ER-TA protein, indeed move from mitochondria to the ER in a manner strictly dependent on Msp1 expression. The Msp1-dependent mitochondria-to-ER transfer of TA proteins is blocked by defects in the GET system, and this block is not due to impaired Doa10 functions. Thus, the GET pathway facilitates the transfer of mislocalized TA proteins from mitochondria to the ER.

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