The cluA gene, encoding a novel 150 kDa protein, was recently characterized in Dictyostelium discoideum; disruption of cluA impaired cytokinesis and caused mitochondria to cluster at the cell center. The genome of Saccharomyces cerevisiae contains an open reading frame (CLU1) that encodes a protein that is 27% identical, 50% similar, to this Dictyostelium protein. Deletion of CLU1 from S. cerevisiae did not affect cell viability, growth properties, sporulation efficiency, or frequency of occurrence of cells lacking functional mitochondria. However, in clu1Delta cells the mitochondrial reticulum, which is normally highly branched, was condensed to one side of the cell. Transformation of cluA- Dictyostelium mutants with the yeast CLU1 gene yielded amoebae that divided normally and had dispersed mitochondria. The mitochondria in cluA- Dictyostelium cells complemented with CLU1 were not as widely scattered as in cluA+ Dictyostelium cells, but formed loose clusters throughout the cytoplasm. These results indicate that the products of the CLU1 and cluA genes, in spite of their limited homology, are functional homologues.

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