Indexed on: 20 May '15Published on: 20 May '15Published in: The Journal of cell biology
Organelle contact sites perform fundamental functions in cells, including lipid and ion homeostasis, membrane dynamics, and signaling. Using a forward proteomics approach in yeast, we identified new ER-mitochondria and ER-vacuole contacts specified by an uncharacterized protein, Ylr072w. Ylr072w is a conserved protein with GRAM and VASt domains that selectively transports sterols and is thus termed Ltc1, for Lipid transfer at contact site 1. Ltc1 localized to ER-mitochondria and ER-vacuole contacts via the mitochondrial import receptors Tom70/71 and the vacuolar protein Vac8, respectively. At mitochondria, Ltc1 was required for cell viability in the absence of Mdm34, a subunit of the ER-mitochondria encounter structure. At vacuoles, Ltc1 was required for sterol-enriched membrane domain formation in response to stress. Increasing the proportion of Ltc1 at vacuoles was sufficient to induce sterol-enriched vacuolar domains without stress. Thus, our data support a model in which Ltc1 is a sterol-dependent regulator of organelle and cellular homeostasis via its dual localization to ER-mitochondria and ER-vacuole contact sites.