Functional constraints of nuclear-mitochondrial DNA interactions in xenomitochondrial rodent cell lines

J Biol Chem. 2000 Oct 6;275(40):31520-7. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M004053200.


The co-evolution of nuclear and mitochondrial genomes in vertebrates led to more than 100 specific interactions that are crucial for an optimized ATP generation. These interactions have been examined by introducing rat mtDNA into mouse cells devoid of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). When mtDNA-less cells derived from the common mouse (Mus musculus domesticus) were fused to cytoplasts prepared from Mus musculus, Mus spretus, or rat (Rattus norvegicus), a comparable number of respiring clones could be obtained. Mouse xenomitochondrial cybrids harboring rat mtDNA had a slower growth rate in medium containing galactose as the carbon source, suggesting a defect in oxidative phosphorylation. These clones respired approximately 50% less than the parental mouse cells or xenomitochondrial cybrids harboring Mus spretus mtDNA. The activities of respiratory complexes I and IV were approximately 50% lower, but mitochondrial protein synthesis was unaffected. The defects in complexes I and IV were associated with decreased steady-state levels of respective subunits suggesting problems in assembly. We also showed that the presence of 10% mouse mtDNA co-existing with rat mtDNA was sufficient to restore respiration to normal levels. Our results suggest that evolutionary distance alone is not a precise predictor of nuclear-mitochondrial interactions as previously suggested for primates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Animals
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Cell Survival
  • DNA / metabolism*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / metabolism*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Galactose / metabolism
  • Gene Transfer Techniques
  • Hybrid Cells
  • Immunoblotting
  • Mice
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Phenotype
  • Phosphorylation
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Rats
  • Respiration
  • Time Factors


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • DNA
  • Oxygen
  • Galactose