The organization and inheritance of the mitochondrial genome

Nat Rev Genet. 2005 Nov;6(11):815-25. doi: 10.1038/nrg1708.


Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) encodes essential components of the cellular energy-producing apparatus, and lesions in mtDNA and mitochondrial dysfunction contribute to numerous human diseases. Understanding mtDNA organization and inheritance is therefore an important goal. Recent studies have revealed that mitochondria use diverse metabolic enzymes to organize and protect mtDNA, drive the segregation of the organellar genome, and couple the inheritance of mtDNA with cellular metabolism. In addition, components of a membrane-associated mtDNA segregation apparatus that might link mtDNA transmission to mitochondrial movements are beginning to be identified. These findings provide new insights into the mechanisms of mtDNA maintenance and inheritance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Energy Metabolism / genetics*
  • Genome, Fungal
  • Genome, Human / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / genetics*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / genetics*
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / metabolism
  • Xenopus laevis
  • Yeasts


  • DNA, Mitochondrial