Cyanidioschyzon merolae Genome Project

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Organellar Division

Triple immunofluorescent labeling of FtsZ, dynamin, and EF-Tu reveals a loose association between the inner and outer membrane mitochondrial division machinery in the red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae.
Nishida K, Misumi O, Yagisawa F, Kuroiwa H, Nagata T, Kuroiwa T.
In the mitochondria of primitive eukaryotes, FtsZ and dynamin are part of the machinery involved in division of the inner and outer membranes, respectively. These genes also commonly function in the same manner during chloroplast division. In this study, a relationship between the localization of the inner and outer division machinery was directly shown for the first time. Triple immunofluorescent labeling was performed in the red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae by a device using narrow bandpass filter sets and bright photostable dyes. FtsZ (CmFtsZ1) and dynamin (CmDnm1) localizations were examined simultaneously throughout the mitochondrial division cycle with an alternative mitochondrial marker protein, the mitochondrial translation elongation factor EF-Tu, whose localization was also shown to be identical to the mitochondrial matrix. FtsZ and dynamin did not necessarily co-localize when both were recruited to the mitochondrial constriction site, indicating that inner and outer dividing machineries are not in tight association during the late stage of division.

Two types of FtsZ proteins in mitochondria and red-lineage chloroplasts: The duplication of FtsZ is implicated in endosymbiosis.
Miyagishima S, Nozaki H, Nishida K, Nishida K, Matsuzaki M, Kuroiwa T.
The ancestors of plastids and mitochondria were once free-living bacteria that became organelles as a result of endosymbiosis. According to this theory, a key bacterial division protein, FtsZ, plays a role in plastid division in algae and plants as well as in mitochondrial division in lower eukaryotes. Recent studies have shown that organelle division is a process that combines features derived from the bacterial division system with features contributed by host eukaryotic cells. Two nonredundant versions of FtsZ, FtsZ1 and FtsZ2, have been identified in green-lineage plastids, whereas most bacteria have a single ftsZ gene. To examine whether there is also more than one type of FtsZ in red-lineage chloroplasts (red algal chloroplasts and chloroplasts that originated from the secondary endosymbiosis of red algae) and in mitochondria, we obtained FtsZ sequences from the complete sequence of the primitive red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae and the draft sequence of the stramenopile (heterokont) Thalassiosira pseudonana. Phylogenetic analyses that included known FtsZ proteins identified two types of chloroplast FtsZ in red algae (FtsZA and FtsZB) and stramenopiles (FtsZA and FtsZC). These analyses also showed that FtsZB emerged after the red and green lineages diverged, while FtsZC arose by the duplication of an ftsZA gene that in turn descended from a red alga engulfed by the ancestor of stramenopiles. A comparison of the predicted proteins showed that like bacterial FtsZ and green-lineage FtsZ2, FtsZA has a short conserved C-termmal sequence (the C-terminal core domain), whereas FtsZB and FtsZC, like the green-lineage FtsZ1, lack this sequence. In addition, the Cyanidioschyzon and Dictyostelium genomes encode two types of mitochondrial FtsZ proteins, one of which lacks the C-terminal variable domain. These results suggest that the acquisition of an additional FtsZ protein with a modified C terminus was common to the primary and secondary endosymbioses that produced plastids and that this also occurred during the establishment of mitochondria, presumably to regulate the multiplication of these organelles.

An evolutionary puzzle: chloroplast and mitochondrial division rings.
Miyagishima S, Nishida K, Kuroiwa T.
Consistent with their bacterial origin, chloroplasts and primitive mitochondria retain a FtsZ ring for division. However, chloroplasts and mitochondria have lost most of the proteins required for bacterial division other than FtsZ and certain homologues of the Min proteins, but they do contain plastid and mitochondrion dividing rings, which were recently shown to be distinct from the FtsZ ring. Moreover, recent studies have revealed that rings of the eukaryote-specific dynamin-related family of GTPases regulate the division of chloroplasts and mitochondria, and these proteins emerged early in eukaryotic evolution. These findings suggest that the division of chloroplasts and primitive mitochondria involve very similar systems, consisting of an amalgamation of rings from bacteria and eukaryotes.

A plant-specific dynamin-related protein forms a ring at the chloroplast division site.
Miyagishima S, Nishida K, Mori T, Matsuzaki M, Higashiyama T, Kuroiwa H, Kuroiwa T.
Chloroplasts have retained the bacterial FtsZ for division, whereas mitochondria lack FtsZ except in some lower eukaryotes. Instead, mitochondrial division involves a dynamin-related protein, suggesting that chloroplasts retained the bacterial division system, whereas a dynamin-based system replaced the bacterial system in mitochondria during evolution. In this study, we identified a novel plant-specific group of dynamins from the primitive red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae. Synchronization of chloroplast division and immunoblot analyses showed that the protein (CmDnm2) associates with the chloroplast only during division. Immunocytochemical analyses showed that CmDnm2 appears in cytoplasmic patches just before chloroplast division and is recruited to the cytosolic side of the chloroplast division site to form a ring in the late stage of division. The ring constricts until division is complete, after which it disappears. These results show that a dynamin-related protein also participates in chloroplast division and that its behavior differs from that of FtsZ and plastid-dividing rings that form before constriction at the site of division. Combined with the results of a recent study of mitochondrial division in Cyanidioschyzon, our findings led us to hypothesize that when first established in lower eukaryotes, mitochondria and chloroplasts divided using a very similar system that included the FtsZ ring, the plastid-dividing/mitochondrion-dividing ring, and the dynamin ring.

Dynamic recruitment of dynamin for final mitochondrial severance in a red alga.
Nishida K, Takahara M, Miyagishima S, Kuroiwa H, Matsuzaki M, Kuroiwa T.
Dynamins are a eukaryote-specific family of GTPases. Some family members are involved in diverse and varied cellular activities. Here, we report that the primitive red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae retains only one dynamin homolog, CmDnm1, belonging to the mitochondrial division subfamily. Previously, the bacterial cell division protein, FtsZ, was shown to localize at the mitochondrial division site in the alga. We showed that FtsZ and dynamin coexist as mitochondrial division-associated proteins that act during different phases of division. CmDnm1 was recruited from 10-20 cytoplasmic patches (dynamin patches) to the midpoint of the constricted mitochondrion-dividing ring (MD ring), which was observed as an electron-dense structure on the cytoplasmic side. CmDnm1 is probably not required for early constriction; it forms a ring or spiral when the outer mitochondrial membrane is finally severed, whereas the FtsZ and MD rings are formed before constriction. It is thought that the FtsZ, MD, and dynamin rings are involved in scaffolding, constriction, and final separation, respectively. In eukaryotes, mitochondrial severance is probably the most conserved role for the dynamin family.