Yeast cells with the mdm10 mutation possess giant spherical mitochondria and are defective for mitochondrial inheritance. The giant mitochondria display classical features of mitochondrial ultrastructure, yet they appear incapable of movement or division. Genetic analysis indicated that the mutant phenotypes resulted from a single nuclear mutation, and the isolated MDM10 gene restored wild-type mitochondrial distribution and morphology when introduced into mutant cells. MDM10 encodes a protein of 56.2 kD located in the mitochondrial outer membrane. Depletion of Mdm10p from cells led to a condensation of normally extended, tubular mitochondria into giant spheres, and reexpression of the protein resulted in a rapid restoration of normal mitochondrial morphology. These results demonstrate that Mdm10p can control mitochondrial morphology, and that it plays a role in the inheritance of mitochondria.

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