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Mech Ageing Dev. 2000 Jul 31;116(2-3):65-76.

Mitochondrial genotype associated with longevity and its inhibitory effect on mutagenesis.

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Department of Gene Therapy, Gifu International Institute of Biotechnology, Yagi Memorial Park, Gifu, 505-0116, Mitake, Japan.


Mitochondria are not only the major site of ATP production in cells but also an important source of reactive oxygen species (ROS) under certain pathological conditions. Because mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in the mitochondrial matrix is exposed to ROS that leak from the respiratory chain, this extranuclear genome is prone to mutations. Therefore, the mitochondrial genome is a rich source of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and the functional significance of SNPs in the mitochondrial genome is comparable to that of SNPs in the entire nuclear genome. To demonstrate the contribution of mitochondrial SNPs to the susceptibility to adult-onset diseases, we analyzed the mtDNA from Japanese centenarians and identified a longevity-associated mitochondrial genotype, Mt5178A. Because this genotype was demonstrated to suppress the occurrence of mtDNA mutations in the oocytes, it also would seem to decelerate the accumulation of mtDNA mutations in the somatic cells with increasing age. This genotype is likely to confer resistance to adult-onset diseases by suppressing obesity and atherosclerosis.

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