Mitochondrial movement during its association with chloroplasts is discovered

March 19, 2021

Expectation for the possible efficient substance metabolism by controlling the association

A research group of Kyoto University, RIKEN CSRS, and Utsunomiya University focused on a type of movement specific to mitochondria in plant cells referred to as "wiggling", and found, first in the world, that this movement is involved in the physical association of mitochondria with chloroplasts.

In the cells of many eukaryotic organisms, organelles with various characteristics dynamically associate with each other and contribute to substance metabolism. In general, it is known that mitochondria move directionally on the filamentous actin inside plant cells. In this study, the group used confocal laser-scanning microscopy to capture movement of mitochondria in Arabidopsis thaliana mesophyll cells at high speed. By analyzing precise data of distance, angle and speed of mitochondrial movement, they revealed that “wiggling”, which differs from the directional movement, has a correlation with the association of mitochondria with chloroplasts.

These findings are expected to become a key contributor to identify the mechanism of substance metabolism between mitochondria and chloroplasts.

Original article
Communications Biology doi:10.1038/s42003-021-01833-8
K. Oikawa, T. Imai, C. Thagun, K. Toyooka, T. Yoshizumi, K. Ishikawa, Y. Kodama & K. Numata,
"Mitochondrial movement during its association with chloroplasts in Arabidopsis thaliana".
Keiji Numata
Team Leader
Biomacromolecules Research Team