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Hum Mol Genet. 2008 Aug 1;17(15):2329-35. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddn133. Epub 2008 Apr 22.

Progressive loss of mitochondrial DNA in thymidine kinase 2-deficient mice.

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  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institute, S-141 86 Huddinge, Sweden.

Abstract

Deficient enzymatic activity of the mitochondrial deoxyribonucleoside kinases deoxyguanosine kinase (DGUOK) or thymidine kinase 2 (TK2) cause mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)-depletion syndromes in humans. Here we report the generation of a Tk2-deficient mouse strain and show that the mice develop essentially normally for the first week but from then on exhibit growth retardation and die within 2-4 weeks of life. Several organs including skeletal muscle, heart, liver and spleen showed progressive loss of mtDNA without increased mtDNA mutations or structural alterations. There were no major histological changes in skeletal muscle, but heart muscle showed disorganized and damaged muscle fibers. Electron microscopy showed mitochondria with distorted cristae. The Tk2-deficient mice exhibited pronounced hypothermia and showed loss of hypodermal fat and abnormal brown adipose tissue. We conclude that Tk2 has a major role in supplying deoxyribonucleotides for mtDNA replication and that other pathways of deoxyribonucleotide synthesis cannot compensate for loss of this enzyme.

PMID:
18434326
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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