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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2007 Dec;1772(11-12):1225-35. Epub 2007 Oct 14.

Mitochondrial DNA defects in Saccharomyces cerevisiae caused by functional interactions between DNA polymerase gamma mutations associated with disease in human.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Biology of Microorganisms, Anthropology, Evolution, University of Parma, 43100 Parma, Italy.


The yeast mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) replicase Mip1 has been used as a model to generate five mutations equivalent to POLG mutations associated with a broad spectrum of diseases in human. All mip1 mutations, alone or in combination in cis or in trans, increase mtDNA instability as measured by petite frequency and Ery(R) mutant accumulation. This phenotype is associated with decreased Mip1 levels in mitochondrial extracts and/or decreased polymerase activity. We have demonstrated that (1) in the mip1(G651S) (hG848S) mutant the high mtDNA instability and increased frequency of point Ery(R) mutations is associated with low Mip1 levels and polymerase activity; (2) in the mip1(A692T-E900G) (hA889T-hE1143G) mutant, A692T is the major contributor to mtDNA instability by decreasing polymerase activity, and E900G acts synergistically by decreasing Mip1 levels; (3) in the mip1(H734Y)/mip1(G807R) (hH932Y/hG1051R) mutant, H734Y is the most deleterious mutation and acts synergistically with G807R as a result of its dominant character; (4) the mip1(E900G) (h1143G) mutation is not neutral but results in a temperature-sensitive phenotype associated with decreased Mip1 levels, a property explaining its synergistic effect with mutations impairing the polymerase activity. Thus, the human E1143G mutation is not a true polymorphism.

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