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Review
. 2015 Sep;1852(9):1805-9.
doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2015.05.016. Epub 2015 Jun 10.

Mitochondrial DNA: A Disposable Genome?

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Free PMC article
Review

Mitochondrial DNA: A Disposable Genome?

Inna N Shokolenko et al. Biochim Biophys Acta. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

In mammalian cells, mitochondria are the only organelles besides the nucleus that house genomic DNA. The mammalian mitochondrial genome is represented by prokaryotic-type, circular, highly compacted DNA molecules. Today, more than a half-century after their discovery, the biology of these small and redundant molecules remains much less understood than that of their nuclear counterparts. One peculiarity of the mitochondrial genome that emerged in recent years is its disposable nature, as evidenced by cells abandoning a fraction of their mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in response to various stimuli with little or no physiological consequence. Here, we review some recent developments in the field of mtDNA biology and discuss emerging questions on the disposability and indispensability of mtDNA.

Keywords: Extramitohondrial mtDNA; Mitochondrial DNA; mtDNA copy number; mtDNA degradation; mtDNA maintenance.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
The map of human mtDNA. The orientation is according to the revised Cambridge Reference Sequence (rCRS, GenBank NC_012920.1). Black bent arrows designate origins and direction of new H-strand (OH) and L-strand (OL) synthesis during replication (or, conversely, origins of L-strand and H-strand replication), respectively. Red bent arrows designate mitochondrial promoters that transcribe either H-strand (HSP1 and HSP2) or L-strand (LSP), respectively. Brown arrows: MT-ND1-MT-ND6, NADH dehydrogenase subunits 1 through 6. Blue arrows: MTCO1-MTCO3, cytochrome oxidase subunits 1 through 3. Black arrows: MTATP6 and MT-ATP8, subunits 6 and 8 of the mitochondrial ATPase, Red arrow: MT-CYB, cytochrome b. tRNAs are designated by green letters using single-letter codes for corresponding amino acids.

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