The mitochondrial elongation factors MIEF1 and MIEF2 exert partially distinct functions in mitochondrial dynamics

Exp Cell Res. 2013 Nov 1;319(18):2893-904. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2013.07.010. Epub 2013 Jul 20.


Mitochondria are dynamic organelles whose morphology is regulated by a complex balance of fission and fusion processes, and we still know relatively little about how mitochondrial dynamics is regulated. MIEF1 (also called MiD51) has recently been characterized as a key regulator of mitochondrial dynamics and in this report we explore the functions of its paralog MIEF2 (also called MiD49), to learn to what extent MIEF2 is functionally distinct from MIEF1. We show that MIEF1 and MIEF2 have many functions in common. Both are anchored in the mitochondrial outer membrane, recruit Drp1 from the cytoplasm to the mitochondrial surface and cause mitochondrial fusion, and MIEF2, like MIEF1, can interact with Drp1 and hFis1. MIEF1 and MIEF2, however, also differ in certain aspects. MIEF1 and MIEF2 are differentially expressed in human tissues during development. When overexpressed, MIEF2 exerts a stronger fusion-promoting effect than MIEF1, and in line with this, hFis1 and Mff can only partially revert the MIEF2-induced fusion phenotype, whereas MIEF1-induced fusion is reverted to a larger extent by hFis1 and Mff. MIEF2 forms high molecular weight oligomers, while MIEF1 is largely present as a dimer. Furthermore, MIEF1 and MIEF2 use distinct domains for oligomerization: in MIEF1, the region from amino acid residues 109-154 is required, whereas oligomerization of MIEF2 depends on amino acid residues 1 to 49, i.e. the N-terminal end. We also show that oligomerization of MIEF1 is not required for its mitochondrial localization and interaction with Drp1. In conclusion, our data suggest that the mitochondrial regulators MIEF1 and MIEF2 exert partially distinct functions in mitochondrial dynamics.

Keywords: Drp1; Mff; Mitochondrial dynamics; Mitochondrial fusion/fission; Self-association; hFis1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Western
  • Dynamins
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • HEK293 Cells
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / genetics*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Dynamics*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / genetics
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Peptide Elongation Factors / genetics
  • Peptide Elongation Factors / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • FIS1 protein, human
  • MIEF1 protein, human
  • MIEF2 protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Peptide Elongation Factors
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases
  • DNM1L protein, human
  • Dynamins