Age-associated mitochondrial DNA deletions in mouse skeletal muscle: comparison of different regions of the mitochondrial genome

Dev Genet. 1996;18(2):107-13. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1520-6408(1996)18:2<107::AID-DVG3>3.0.CO;2-D.


The abundance of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) deletions has been shown to increase with age in a number of species and may contribute to the aging process. Estimating the total mtDNA deletion load of an individual is essential in evaluating the potential physiological impact. In this study, we compared three 5-kb regions of the mitochondrial genome: one in the major arc, one in the minor arc, and a third containing the light strand origin of replication. Through PCR analysis of mouse skeletal muscle, we have determined that not all regions produce equal numbers of age-associated deletions. There are, on average, twofold more detectable deletions in the major arc region than in the minor arc region. Deletions that result in the loss of the light strand origin of replication are rarely detected. Furthermore, the mechanism of deletion formation seems to be similar in both the major and minor arcs, with direct repeats playing an important, although not essential, role.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Gene Deletion*
  • Genome
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Mitochondrial