Heterogeneity in mitochondrial morphology and membrane potential is independent of the nuclear division cycle in multinucleate fungal cells. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • In the multinucleate filamentous fungus Ashbya gossypii, nuclei divide asynchronously in a common cytoplasm. We hypothesize that the division cycle machinery has a limited zone of influence in the cytoplasm to promote nuclear autonomy. Mitochondria in cultured mammalian cells undergo cell cycle-specific changes in morphology and membrane potential and therefore can serve as a reporter of the cell cycle state of the cytoplasm. To evaluate if the cell cycle state of nuclei in A. gossypii can influence the adjacent cytoplasm, we tested whether local mitochondrial morphology and membrane potential in A. gossypii are associated with the division state of a nearby nucleus. We found that mitochondria exhibit substantial heterogeneity in both morphology and membrane potential within a single multinucleated cell. Notably, differences in mitochondrial morphology or potential are not associated with a specific nuclear division state. Heterokaryon mutants with a mixture of nuclei with deletions of and wild type for the mitochondrial fusion/fission genes DNM1 and FZO1 exhibit altered mitochondrial morphology and severe growth and sporulation defects. This dominant effect suggests that the gene products may be required locally near their expression site rather than diffusing widely in the cell. Our results demonstrate that mitochondrial dynamics are essential in these large syncytial cells, yet morphology and membrane potential are independent of nuclear cycle state.

publication date

  • March 2012