Mitochondrial division is important for mitochondrial distribution and function. Recent data have demonstrated that ER-mitochondria contacts mark mitochondrial division sites, but the molecular basis and functions of these contacts are not understood. Here we show that in yeast, the ER-mitochondria tethering complex, ERMES, and the highly conserved Miro GTPase, Gem1, are spatially and functionally linked to ER-associated mitochondrial division. Gem1 acts as a negative regulator of ER-mitochondria contacts, an activity required for the spatial resolution and distribution of newly generated mitochondrial tips following division. Previous data have demonstrated that ERMES localizes with a subset of actively replicating mitochondrial nucleoids. We show that mitochondrial division is spatially linked to nucleoids and that a majority of these nucleoids segregate prior to division, resulting in their distribution into newly generated tips in the mitochondrial network. Thus, we postulate that ER-associated division serves to link the distribution of mitochondria and mitochondrial nucleoids in cells. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.00422.001.
Keywords: ERMES; Gem1; Miro; S. cerevisiae; mitochondria; mitochondrial DNA.