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Trends Cell Biol. 2007 Dec;17(12):586-92. Epub 2007 Nov 5.

Evolutionary tinkering with mitochondrial nucleoids.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 6000 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75390-9148, USA.


Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is organized in nucleoprotein particles called nucleoids. Each nucleoid, which is considered a heritable unit of mtDNA, might contain several copies of the mitochondrial genome and several different proteins. Some nucleoid-associated proteins, such as the high mobility group (HMG) box family, have well defined functions in mtDNA maintenance and packaging; others, such as Aco1 and IIv5, are bifunctional, fulfilling their roles in nucleoids in addition to well established metabolic functions. The fact that the HMG box mtDNA packaging proteins are of eukaryotic rather than bacterial origin and also that every organism seems to have a unique set of nucleoid-associated proteins suggests that evolutionary tinkering occurred to reinvent mitochondrial nucleoprotein during the evolution of mitochondrial genomes.

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