Mitochondrial DNA copy number is regulated by cellular proliferation: a role for Ras and p66(Shc)

Biochim Biophys Acta. May-Jun 2006;1757(5-6):624-30. doi: 10.1016/j.bbabio.2006.05.029. Epub 2006 May 25.


The abundance of mitochondria is regulated by biogenesis and division. These processes are controlled by cellular factors, given that, for example, mitochondria have to replicate their DNA prior to cell division. However, the mechanisms that allow a synchronization of cell proliferation with mitochondrial genome replication are still obscure. We report here our investigations on the role of proliferation and the contribution of Ras and p66Shc in the regulation of mitochondrial DNA copy number. Ras proteins mediate a variety of receptor-transduced mitogenic signals and appear to play an essential role in the cellular response to growth factors. P66Shc is a genetic determinant of life span in mammals and has been implicated in the regulation of receptor signaling and various mitochondrial functions. First, we confirmed previous reports showing that mitochondrial DNA is replicated during a specific phase of the cell cycle (the pre-S phase) and provided novel evidences that this process is regulated by mitogenic growth factors. Second, we showed that mitochondrial DNA replication is activated following Ras-induced cellular hyper-proliferation. Finally, we showed that p66Shc expression induces mitochondrial DNA replication, both in vitro and in vivo. We suggest that mitochondria are target of intracellular signaling pathways leading to proliferation, involving Ras and p66Shc, which might function to integrate cellular bio-energetic requirements and the inheritance of mitochondrial DNA in a cell cycle-dependent manner.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / physiology*
  • Adipocytes
  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle / physiology
  • Cell Nucleus / physiology
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA Replication
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Gene Dosage*
  • Genes, ras
  • Growth Substances / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Shc Signaling Adaptor Proteins
  • Signal Transduction
  • Src Homology 2 Domain-Containing, Transforming Protein 1
  • ras Proteins / genetics
  • ras Proteins / physiology*


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Growth Substances
  • Shc Signaling Adaptor Proteins
  • Shc1 protein, mouse
  • Src Homology 2 Domain-Containing, Transforming Protein 1
  • ras Proteins