Two mitochondrially synthesized marker polypeptides, MV-1 and MV-2, were found in human HeLa and HT1080 cells. These were assigned to the mitochondrial DNA in HeLa-HT1080 cybrids and hybrids by demonstrating their linkage to cytoplasmic genetic markers. These markers include mitochondrial DNA restriction site polymorphisms and resistance to chloramphenicol, an inhibitor of mitochondrial protein synthesis. In the absence of chloramphenicol, the expression of MV-1 and MV-2 in cybrids and hybrids was found to be directly proportional to the ratio of the parental mitochondrial DNAs. In the presence of chloramphenicol, the marker polypeptide linked to the chloramphenicol-sensitive mitochondrial DNA continued to be expressed. This demonstrated that resistant and sensitive mitochondrial DNAs can cooperate within a cell for gene expression and that the CAP-resistant allele was dominant or codominant to sensitive. Such cooperation suggests that mitochondrial DNAs can be exchanged between mitochondria.