Mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM): roles in maintenance of mtDNA and cellular functions

Mitochondrion. Feb-Apr 2007;7(1-2):39-44. doi: 10.1016/j.mito.2006.11.017. Epub 2006 Dec 8.


A growing body of evidence suggests that mammalian mitochondrial DNA takes on higher structure called nucleoid or mitochromosome corresponding to that of nuclear DNA. Mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM), which was cloned as a transcription factor for mitochondrial DNA, has known to be essential for the maintenance of mitochondrial DNA. Human TFAM has an ability to bind to DNA in a sequence-independent manner and is abundant enough to cover whole region of mitochondrial DNA, owing to which TFAM stabilizes mitochondrial DNA through formation of nucleoid and regulates (or titrates) the amount of mitochondrial DNA. Overexpression of human TFAM in mice increases the amount of mitochondrial DNA and dramatically ameliorates the cardiac dysfunctions caused by myocardial infarction. The maintenance of integrity of mitochondrial DNA is important for keeping proper cellular functions both under physiological and pathological conditions. TFAM may play a crucial role in maintaining mitochondrial DNA as a main component of the nucleoid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Replication / physiology
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / physiology*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria, Heart / metabolism
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / physiology*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / ultrastructure
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • Transcription Factors / ultrastructure
  • Ventricular Remodeling / drug effects
  • Ventricular Remodeling / physiology


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • TFAM protein, human
  • Transcription Factors
  • Superoxide Dismutase