Journal Article

Inhibition of mitochondrial fission favours mutant over wild-type mitochondrial DNA

Adriana Malena, Emanuele Loro, Miriam Di Re, Ian J. Holt and Lodovica Vergani

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 18, issue 18, pages 3407-3416
Published in print September 2009 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online June 2009 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddp281
Inhibition of mitochondrial fission favours mutant over wild-type mitochondrial DNA

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Biased segregation of mitochondrial DNA variants has been widely documented, but little was known about its molecular basis. We set out to test the hypothesis that altering the balance between mitochondrial fusion and fission could influence the segregation of mutant and wild-type mtDNA variants, because it would modify the number of organelles per cell. Therefore human cells heteroplasmic for the pathological A3243G mitochondrial DNA mutation were transfected with constructs designed to silence Drp1 or hFis1, whose gene products are required for mitochondrial fission. Drp1 and hFis1 gene silencing were both associated with increased levels of mutant mitochondrial DNA. Thus, the extent of the mitochondrial reticular network appears to be an important factor in determining mutant load. The fact that the level of mutant and wild-type mitochondrial DNA can be manipulated by altering the expression of nuclear encoded factors involved in mitochondrial fission suggests new interventions for mitochondrial DNA disorders.

Journal Article.  6055 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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