Yeast Dnm1p is a soluble, dynamin-related GTPase that assembles on the outer mitochondrial membrane at sites where organelle division occurs. Although these Dnm1p-containing complexes are thought to trigger constriction and fission, little is known about their composition and assembly, and molecules required for their membrane recruitment have not been isolated. Using a genetic approach, we identified two new genes in the fission pathway, FIS1 and FIS2. FIS1 encodes a novel, outer mitochondrial membrane protein with its amino terminus exposed to the cytoplasm. Fis1p is the first integral membrane protein shown to participate in a eukaryotic membrane fission event. In a related study (Tieu, Q., and J. Nunnari. 2000. J. Cell Biol. 151:353-365), it was shown that the FIS2 gene product (called Mdv1p) colocalizes with Dnm1p on mitochondria. Genetic and morphological evidence indicate that Fis1p, but not Mdv1p, function is required for the proper assembly and distribution of Dnm1p-containing fission complexes on mitochondrial tubules. We propose that mitochondrial fission in yeast is a multi-step process, and that membrane-bound Fis1p is required for the proper assembly, membrane distribution, and function of Dnm1p-containing complexes during fission.
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