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Mitochondrion. 2007 May;7(3):211-22. Epub 2006 Dec 9.

The role of Pif1p, a DNA helicase in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, in maintaining mitochondrial DNA.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine, New Jersey Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, 185 South Orange Avenue, Newark, NJ 07101-1709, USA.


Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is highly susceptible to oxidative and chemically induced damage, and these insults lead to a number of diseases. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the DNA helicase Pif1p is localized to the nucleus and mitochondria. We show that pif1 mutant cells are sensitive to ethidium bromide-induced damage and this mtDNA is prone to fragmentation. We also show that Pif1p associates with mtDNA. In pif1 mutant cells, mtDNA breaks at specific sites that exhibit Pif1-dependent recombination. We conclude that Pif1p participates in the protection from double-stranded (ds) DNA breaks or alternatively in the repair process of dsDNA breaks in mtDNA.

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