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Author: J Michael McCaffery (85)


Jun
2017

OPA1 is a GTPase that controls mitochondrial fusion, cristae integrity, and mtDNA maintenance. In humans, eight isoforms are expressed as combinations of long and short forms, but it is unclear whether OPA1 functions are associated with specific isoforms and/or domains. To address this, we expressed each of the eight isoforms or different constructs of isoform 1 in Opa1MEFs.

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Jun
2017

Heteroaggregation of graphene oxide (GO) with nanometer- and micrometer-sized hematite colloids, which are naturally present in aquatic systems, is investigated in this study. The heteroaggregation rates between GO and hematite nanoparticles (HemNPs) were quantified by dynamic light scattering, while the heteroaggregation between GO and micrometer-sized hematite particles (HemMPs) was examined through batch adsorption and sedimentation experiments. The heteroaggregation rates of GO with HemNPs first increased and then decreased with increasing GO/HemNP mass concentration ratios.

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May
2016

mtDNA sequence alterations are challenging to generate but desirable for basic studies and potential correction of mtDNA diseases. Here, we report a new method for transferring isolated mitochondria into somatic mammalian cells using a photothermal nanoblade, which bypasses endocytosis and cell fusion. The nanoblade rescued the pyrimidine auxotroph phenotype and respiration of ρ0 cells that lack mtDNA.

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Dec
1969

The X-linked disease Barth syndrome (BTHS) is caused by mutations in TAZ; TAZ is the main determinant of the final acyl chain composition of the mitochondrial-specific phospholipid, cardiolipin. To date, a detailed characterization of endogenous TAZ has only been performed in yeast. Further, why a given BTHS-associated missense mutation impairs TAZ function has only been determined in a yeast model of this human disease.

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Dec
2015

The immediate responses to inhibition of phosphatidylcholine (PC) biosynthesis in yeast are altered phospholipid levels, slow growth, and defects in the morphology and localization of ER and mitochondria. With chronic lipid imbalance, yeast adapt. Lipid droplet (LD) biogenesis and conversion of phospholipids to triacylglycerol are required for restoring some phospholipids to near-wild-type levels.

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Nov
2015

Defects in mitochondrial fusion or fission are associated with many pathologies, raising the hope that pharmacological manipulation of mitochondrial dynamics may have therapeutic benefit. This approach assumes that organ physiology can be restored by rebalancing mitochondrial dynamics, but this concept remains to be validated. We addressed this issue by analyzing mice deficient in Mff, a protein important for mitochondrial fission.

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Nov
2015

Depletion of inositol has profound effects on cell function and has been implicated in the therapeutic effects of drugs used to treat epilepsy and bipolar disorder. We have previously shown that the anticonvulsant drug valproate (VPA) depletes inositol by inhibiting myo-inositol-3-phosphate synthase, the enzyme that catalyzes the first and rate-limiting step of inositol biosynthesis. To elucidate the cellular consequences of inositol depletion, we screened the yeast deletion collection for VPA-sensitive mutants and identified mutants in vacuolar sorting and the vacuolar ATPase (V-ATPase).

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Apr
2015

The conserved MICOS complex functions as a primary determinant of mitochondrial inner membrane structure. We address the organization and functional roles of MICOS and identify two independent MICOS subcomplexes: Mic27/Mic10/Mic12, whose assembly is dependent on respiratory complexes and the mitochondrial lipid cardiolipin, and Mic60/Mic19, which assembles independent of these factors. Our data suggest that MICOS subcomplexes independently localize to cristae junctions and are connected via Mic19, which functions to regulate subcomplex distribution, and thus, potentially also cristae junction copy number.

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Aug
2014

Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) capsids can be produced in insect cells using recombinant baculoviruses for protein expression. All six capsid proteins are required for this process to occur and, unlike for alphaherpesviruses, the small capsid protein (SCP) ORF65 is essential for this process. This protein decorates the capsid shell by virtue of its interaction with the capsomeres.

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May
2014

We provide direct evidence that Bin/Amphiphysin/Rvs (BAR) family members bend the steady state membrane architecture of organelles in intact cells. In response to inducible BAR molecular actuators, organelles exhibit distinct changes to the orientation and degree of their membrane curvature. This rapidly inducible system may offer a mechanism by which to better understand the structure-function relationship of intracellular organelles.

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Jan
2014

After biosynthesis, an evolutionarily conserved acyl chain remodeling process generates a final highly homogeneous and yet tissue-specific molecular form of the mitochondrial lipid cardiolipin. Hence, cardiolipin molecules in different organisms, and even different tissues within the same organism, contain a distinct collection of attached acyl chains. This observation is the basis for the widely accepted paradigm that the acyl chain composition of cardiolipin is matched to the unique mitochondrial demands of a tissue.

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Sep
2013

Nanoparticle gene therapy holds great promise for the treatment of malignant disease in light of the large number of potent, tumor-specific therapeutic payloads potentially available for delivery. To be effective, gene therapy vehicles must be able to deliver their therapeutic payloads to metastatic lesions after systemic administration. Here we describe nanoparticles comprised of a core of high molecular weight linear polyethylenimine (LPEI) complexed with DNA and surrounded by a shell of polyethyleneglycol-modified (PEGylated) low molecular weight LPEI.

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Apr
2013

All herpesviruses encode a complex of two proteins, referred to as the nuclear egress complex (NEC), which together facilitate the exit of assembled capsids from the nucleus. Previously, we showed that the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) NEC specified by the ORF67 and ORF69 genes when expressed in insect cells using baculoviruses for protein expression forms a complex at the nuclear membrane and remodels these membranes to generate nuclear membrane-derived vesicles. In this study, we have analyzed the functional domains of the KSHV NEC proteins and their interactions.

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Dec
1969

Mitochondrial fission in eukaryotes is mediated by protein complexes that encircle and divide mitochondrial tubules. In budding yeast, fission requires the membrane-anchored protein Fis1 and the dynamin-related GTPase Dnm1. Dnm1 is recruited to mitochondria via interactions with the adaptor proteins Caf4 and Mdv1, which bind directly to Fis1.

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Nov
2012

Self-assembly of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus capsids occurs when six proteins are coexpressed in insect cells using recombinant baculoviruses; however, if the small capsid protein (SCP) is omitted from the coinfection, assembly does not occur. Herein we delineate and identify precisely the assembly domain and the residues of SCP required for assembly. Hence, six residues, R14, D18, V25, R46, G66, and R70 in the assembly domain, when changed to alanine, completely abolish or reduce capsid assembly.

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Nov
2012

Many pathological states involve dysregulation of mitochondrial fusion, fission, or transport. These dynamic events are usually studied in cells lines because of the challenges in tracking mitochondria in tissues. To investigate mitochondrial dynamics in tissues and disease models, we generated two mouse lines with photo-activatable mitochondria (PhAM).

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Jun
2012

The heteroaggregation rates of negatively charged multiwalled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and positively charged hematite nanoparticles (HemNPs) were obtained over a broad range of nanoparticle distributions using time-resolved dynamic light scattering (DLS). Binary systems comprising CNTs and HemNPs were prepared using low ionic strength solutions to minimize the concurrent occurrence of homoaggregation. To elucidate the mechanisms of heteroaggregation, the structures of CNT-HemNP aggregates were observed using cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM).

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Dec
2011

The endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-Golgi-independent, unconventional secretion of Acb1 requires many different proteins. They include proteins necessary for the formation of autophagosomes, proteins necessary for the fusion of membranes with the endosomes, proteins of the multivesicular body pathway, and the cell surface target membrane SNARE Sso1, thereby raising the question of what achieves the connection between these diverse proteins and Acb1 secretion. In the present study, we now report that, upon starvation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Grh1 is collected into unique membrane structures near Sec13-containing ER exit sites.

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Nov
2011

It has been assumed, based largely on morphologic evidence, that human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) contain underdeveloped, bioenergetically inactive mitochondria. In contrast, differentiated cells harbour a branched mitochondrial network with oxidative phosphorylation as the main energy source. A role for mitochondria in hPSC bioenergetics and in cell differentiation therefore remains uncertain.

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Oct
2011

Mammalian Bcl-x(L) protein localizes to the outer mitochondrial membrane, where it inhibits apoptosis by binding Bax and inhibiting Bax-induced outer membrane permeabilization. Contrary to expectation, we found by electron microscopy and biochemical approaches that endogenous Bcl-x(L) also localized to inner mitochondrial cristae. Two-photon microscopy of cultured neurons revealed large fluctuations in inner mitochondrial membrane potential when Bcl-x(L) was genetically deleted or pharmacologically inhibited, indicating increased total ion flux into and out of mitochondria.

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May
2011

The ability of cells to respire requires that mitochondria undergo fusion and fission of their outer and inner membranes. The means by which levels of fusion 'machinery' components are regulated and the molecular details of how fusion occurs are largely unknown. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a central component of the mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM) fusion machinery is the mitofusin Fzo1, a dynamin-like GTPase.

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Apr
2011

Mutations in the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) gene cause late-onset, autosomal dominant familial Parkinson's disease (PD) and also contribute to idiopathic PD. LRRK2 mutations represent the most common cause of PD with clinical and neurochemical features that are largely indistinguishable from idiopathic disease. Currently, transgenic mice expressing wild-type or disease-causing mutants of LRRK2 have failed to produce overt neurodegeneration, although abnormalities in nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurotransmission have been observed.

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Jan
2011

In mammals, fusion of the mitochondrial outer membrane is controlled by two DRPs, MFN1 and MFN2, that function in place of a single outer membrane DRP, Fzo1 in yeast. We addressed the significance of two mammalian outer membrane fusion DRPs using an in vitro mammalian mitochondrial fusion assay. We demonstrate that heterotypic MFN1-MFN2 trans complexes possess greater efficacy in fusion as compared to homotypic MFN1 or MFN2 complexes.

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Dec
2010

The parameters that control nuclear size and shape are poorly understood. In yeast, unregulated membrane proliferation, caused by deletion of the phospholipid biosynthesis inhibitor SPO7, leads to a single nuclear envelope "flare" that protrudes into the cytoplasm. This flare is always associated with the asymmetrically localized nucleolus, which suggests that the site of membrane expansion is spatially confined by an unknown mechanism.

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Aug
2010

RNA import into mammalian mitochondria is considered essential for replication, transcription, and translation of the mitochondrial genome but the pathway(s) and factors that control this import are poorly understood. Previously, we localized polynucleotide phosphorylase (PNPASE), a 3' --> 5' exoribonuclease and poly-A polymerase, in the mitochondrial intermembrane space, a location lacking resident RNAs. Here, we show a new role for PNPASE in regulating the import of nuclear-encoded RNAs into the mitochondrial matrix.

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Oct
2010

The exact molecular mechanisms by which the environmental pollutant arsenic works in biological systems are not completely understood. Using an unbiased chemogenomics approach in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we found that mutants of the chaperonin complex TRiC and the functionally related prefoldin complex are all hypersensitive to arsenic compared to a wild-type strain. In contrast, mutants with impaired ribosome functions were highly arsenic resistant.

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May
2010

When the translation termination factor Sup35 adopts the prion state, [PSI(+)], the read-through of stop codons increases, uncovering hidden genetic variation and giving rise to new, often beneficial, phenotypes. Evidence suggests that prion induction involves a process of maturation, but this has never been studied in detail. To do so, we used a visually tractable prion model consisting of the Sup35 prion domain fused to GFP (PrD-GFP) and overexpressed it to achieve induction in many cells simultaneously.

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Apr
2010

Mitochondria are highly mobile and dynamic organelles that continually fuse and divide. These processes allow mitochondria to exchange contents, including mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Here we examine the functions of mitochondrial fusion in differentiated skeletal muscle through conditional deletion of the mitofusins Mfn1 and Mfn2, mitochondrial GTPases essential for fusion.

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Mar
2010

Using new chemically inducible dimerization probes, we generated a system to rapidly target proteins to individual intracellular organelles. Using this system, we activated Ras GTPase at distinct intracellular locations and induced tethering of membranes from two organelles, endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria. Innovative techniques to rapidly perturb molecular activities and organelle-organelle communications at precise locations and timing will provide powerful strategies to dissect spatiotemporally complex biological processes.

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Jan
2010

Biofuels offer a viable alternative to petroleum-based fuel. However, current methods are not sufficient and the technology required in order to use lignocellulosic biomass as a fermentation substrate faces several challenges. One challenge is the need for a robust fermentative microorganism that can tolerate the inhibitors present during lignocellulosic fermentation.

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Jan
2010

alpha-Synuclein (alpha-syn) is a small lipid-binding protein involved in vesicle trafficking whose function is poorly characterized. It is of great interest to human biology and medicine because alpha-syn dysfunction is associated with several neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson's disease (PD). We previously created a yeast model of alpha-syn pathobiology, which established vesicle trafficking as a process that is particularly sensitive to alpha-syn expression.

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Sep
2009

Phage display has demonstrated the utility of cyclic peptides as general protein ligands but cannot access proteins inside eukaryotic cells. Expanding a new chemical genetics tool, we describe the first expressed library of head-to-tail cyclic peptides in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). We applied the library to selections in a yeast model of alpha-synuclein toxicity that recapitulates much of the cellular pathology of Parkinson's disease.

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Jul
2009

The epsins are a family of adaptors involved in recruiting other endocytic proteins, binding of ubiquitylated cargo and induction of membrane curvature. These molecules bear a characteristic epsin N-terminal homology (ENTH) domain and multiple peptide motifs that mediate protein-protein interactions. We have previously demonstrated that the ENTH domain of epsin is involved in Cdc42 signaling regulation.

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Aug
2009

Mitochondrial fusion requires the coordinated fusion of the outer and inner membranes. Three large GTPases--OPA1 and the mitofusins Mfn1 and Mfn2--are essential for the fusion of mammalian mitochondria. OPA1 is mutated in dominant optic atrophy, a neurodegenerative disease of the optic nerve.

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Jul
2009

Non-amyloid, ubiquitinated cytoplasmic inclusions containing TDP-43 and its C-terminal fragments are pathological hallmarks of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal motor neuron disorder, and frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-positive inclusions (FTLD-U). Importantly, TDP-43 mutations are linked to sporadic and non-SOD1 familial ALS. However, TDP-43 is not the only protein in disease-associated inclusions, and whether TDP-43 misfolds or is merely sequestered by other aggregated components is unclear.

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Mar
2009

Mitochondrial fission and fusion are linked to synaptic activity in healthy neurons and are implicated in the regulation of apoptotic cell death in many cell types. We developed fluorescence microscopy and computational strategies to directly measure mitochondrial fission and fusion frequencies and their effects on mitochondrial morphology in cultured neurons. We found that the rate of fission exceeds the rate of fusion in healthy neuronal processes, and, therefore, the fission/fusion ratio alone is insufficient to explain mitochondrial morphology at steady state.

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Feb
2009

In yeast, three proteins are essential for mitochondrial fusion. Fzo1 and Mgm1 are conserved guanosine triphosphatases that reside in the outer and inner membranes, respectively. At each membrane, these conserved proteins are required for the distinct steps of membrane tethering and lipid mixing.

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Dec
2008

Saccharomyces cerevisiae Cbk1 is a LATS/Ndr protein kinase and a downstream component of the regulation of Ace2 and morphogenesis (RAM) signaling network. Cbk1 and the RAM network are required for cellular morphogenesis, cell separation, and maintenance of cell integrity. Here, we examine the phenotypes of conditional cbk1 mutants to determine the essential function of Cbk1.

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Dec
2008

Mutations in the mitochondrial cardiolipin (CL) transacylase, tafazzin (Taz1p), result in the X-linked cardioskeletal myopathy, Barth syndrome (BTHS). The mitochondria of BTHS patients exhibit variable respiratory defects and abnormal cristae ultrastructure. The biochemical basis for these observations is unknown.

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Dec
1969

Microscopic analyses of mammalian gamete ultrastructure have provided among the most seminal insights into fertilization. Here we present a summary of ultrastructural studies of mammalian fertilization, together with a review of the effects of post-ovulatory aging in eggs, and our own results using scanning electron microscopy to examine the effects of post-ovulatory aging on the egg membrane topography. Our previous work detected two abnormalities in egg membrane function in aged eggs: aged eggs appeared to be less able to support sperm-egg membrane interaction, thus rendering the eggs less fertilizable, and aged eggs appear to have a reduced ability to prevent polyspermy at the level of the egg membrane, i.

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Apr
2008

Protein misfolding is intimately associated with devastating human neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and Parkinson's. Although disparate in their pathophysiology, many of these disorders share a common theme, manifested in the accumulation of insoluble protein aggregates in the brain. Recently, the major disease protein found in the pathological inclusions of two of these diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontal temporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-positive inclusions (FTLD-U), was identified as the 43-kDa TAR-DNA-binding protein (TDP-43), providing a molecular link between them.

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May
2008

Charcot-Marie-Tooth Type 2A is a dominantly inherited peripheral neuropathy characterized by axonal degeneration of sensory and motor nerves. The disease is caused by mutations in the mitochondrial fusion gene MFN2. Mfn2 is an integral outer mitochondrial membrane protein composed of a large GTPase domain and two heptad repeat (HR) domains that face the cytoplasm.

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Dec
1969

Electron microscopy (EM) has been a central tool in delineating the subcellular organization and function of the eukaryotic cell. It has provided valuable information on the organization of the Golgi complex; the polarized distribution of proteins on the plasma membrane; and fundamental insights into the essential structure and function of mitochondria beginning with the first EM observations of Claude and Fullam on isolated mitochondria in 1944. Most significant for this volume is the contribution immunoelectron microscopy (IEM) has made in the study of mitochondrial dynamics and in demonstrating the localizations of key mitochondrial proteins in yeast, including, though not limited to, Dnm1p, Fiz1p, and Mgm1p.

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Feb
2008

Ergosterol depletion independently inhibits two aspects of yeast mating: pheromone signaling and plasma membrane fusion. In signaling, ergosterol participates in the recruitment of Ste5 to a polarized site on the plasma membrane. Ergosterol is thought to form microdomains within the membrane by interacting with the long acyl chains of sphingolipids.

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Jan
2008

alpha-Synuclein (alpha-syn), a protein of unknown function, is the most abundant protein in Lewy bodies, the histological hallmark of Parkinson's disease (PD). In yeast alpha-syn inhibits endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-to-Golgi (ER-->Golgi) vesicle trafficking, which is rescued by overexpression of a Rab GTPase that regulates ER-->Golgi trafficking. The homologous Rab1 rescues alpha-syn toxicity in dopaminergic neuronal models of PD.

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Aug
2007

Mutations in the mitochondrial fusion gene Mfn2 cause the human neurodegenerative disease Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2A. However, the cellular basis underlying this relationship is poorly understood. By removing Mfn2 from the cerebellum, we established a model for neurodegeneration caused by loss of mitochondrial fusion.

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Sep
2007

Spores of the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium novyi NT are able to germinate in and destroy hypoxic regions of tumors in experimental animals. Future progress in this area will benefit from a better understanding of the germination and outgrowth processes that are essential for the tumorilytic properties of these spores. Toward this end, we have used both transmission electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy to determine the structure of both dormant and germinating spores.

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Dec
2006

Golgin-160 is a ubiquitously expressed peripheral Golgi membrane protein that is important for transduction of certain pro-apoptotic signals at the Golgi complex. However, the role of golgin-160 in normal Golgi structure and function is unknown. Here, we show that depletion of golgin-160 using RNA interference (RNAi) does not affect Golgi morphology or constitutive membrane traffic in HeLa cells.

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Oct
2006

Mitochondrial outer- and inner-membrane fusion events are coupled in vivo but separable and mechanistically distinct in vitro, indicating that separate fusion machines exist in each membrane. Outer-membrane fusion requires trans interactions of the dynamin-related GTPase Fzo1, GTP hydrolysis, and an intact inner-membrane proton gradient. Inner-membrane fusion also requires GTP hydrolysis but distinctly requires an inner-membrane electrical potential.

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