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Plant Mol Biol. 2005 Jul;58(4):515-27.

Shared molecular characteristics of successfully transformed mitochondrial genomes in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.

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Graduate School of Engineering, Department of Environmental Systems Engineering, Kochi University of Technology (KUT), Tosayamada, Kochi, Japan.


Three types of respiratory deficient mitochondrial strains have been reported in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii: a deficiency due to (i) two base substitutions causing an amino acid change in the apocytochrome b (COB) gene (i.e., strain named dum-15), (ii) one base deletion in the COXI gene (dum-19), or (iii) a large deletion extending from the left terminus of the genome to somewhere in the COB gene (dum-1, -14, and -16). We found that these respiratory deficient strains of C. reinhardtii can be divided into two groups: strains that are constantly transformable and those could not be transformed in our experiments. All transformable mitochondrial strains were limited to the type that has a large deletion in the left arm of the genome. For these mitochondria, transformation was successful not only with purified intact mitochondrial genomes but also with DNA-constructs containing the compensating regions. In comparison, mitochondria of all the non-transformable strains have both of their genome termini intact, leading us to speculate that mitochondria lacking their left genome terminus have unstable genomes and might have a higher potential for recombination. Analysis of mitochondrial gene organization in the resulting respiratory active transformants was performed by DNA sequencing and restriction enzyme digestion. Such analysis showed that homologous recombination occurred at various regions between the mitochondrial genome and the artificial DNA-constructs. Further analysis by Southern hybridization showed that the wild-type genome rapidly replaces the respiratory deficient monomer and dimer mitochondrial genomes, while the E. coli vector region of the artificial DNA-construct likely does not remain in the mitochondria.

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