A role for recombination junctions in the segregation of mitochondrial DNA in yeast

Cell. 1995 Jun 16;81(6):947-55. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(95)90014-4.


In S. cerevisiae, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) molecules, in spite of their high copy number, segregate as if there were a small number of heritable units. The rapid segregation of mitochondrial genomes can be analyzed using mtDNA deletion variants. These small, amplified genomes segregate preferentially from mixed zygotes relative to wild-type mtDNA. This segregation advantage is abolished by mutations in a gene, MGT1, that encodes a recombination junction-resolving enzyme. We show here that resolvase deficiency causes a larger proportion of molecules to be linked together by recombination junctions, resulting in the aggregation of mtDNA into a small number of cytological structures. This change in mtDNA structure can account for the increased mitotic loss of mtDNA and the altered pattern of mtDNA segregation from zygotes. We propose that the level of unresolved recombination junctions influences the number of heritable units of mtDNA.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • DNA, Fungal / genetics*
  • DNA, Fungal / isolation & purification
  • DNA, Fungal / metabolism
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / isolation & purification
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / metabolism
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel
  • Gene Deletion
  • Genes, Fungal
  • Mitosis
  • Models, Genetic
  • Recombination, Genetic*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / cytology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism


  • DNA, Fungal
  • DNA, Mitochondrial