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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Dec 5;103(49):18586-91. Epub 2006 Nov 21.

Mitochondrial deoxynucleotide pool sizes in mouse liver and evidence for a transport mechanism for thymidine monophosphate.

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Departments of Biology and Biomedical Sciences, University of Padua, I-35131 Padua, Italy.


Dividing cultured cells contain much larger pools of the four dNTPs than resting cells. In both cases the sizes of the individual pools are only moderately different. The same applies to mitochondrial (mt) pools of cultured cells. Song et al. [Song S, Pursell ZF, Copeland WC, Longley MJ, Kunkel TA, Mathews CK (2005) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 102:4990-4995] reported that mt pools of rat tissues instead are highly asymmetric, with the dGTP pool in some cases being several-hundred-fold larger than the dTTP pool, and suggested that the asymmetry contributes to increased mutagenesis during mt DNA replication. We have now investigated this discrepancy and determined the size of each dNTP pool in mouse liver mitochondria. We found large variations in pool sizes that closely followed variations in the ATP pool and depended on the length of time spent in the preparation of mitochondria. The proportion between dNTPs was in all cases without major asymmetries and similar to those found earlier in cultured resting cells. We also investigated the import and export of thymidine phosphates in mouse liver mitochondria and provide evidence for a rapid, highly selective, and saturable import of dTMP, not depending on a functional respiratory chain. At nM external dTMP the nucleotide is concentrated 100-fold inside the mt matrix. Export of thymidine phosphates was much slower and possibly occurred at the level of dTDP.

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