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Oncogene. 1991 Oct;6(10):1869-74.

HeLaTG cells have mitochondrial DNA inserted into the c-myc oncogene.

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Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas 75235-9039.

Erratum in

  • Oncogene 1995 Apr 20;10(8):1689.


To determine whether mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) fragments found within the nucleus are transcribed, we have differentially screened a HeLaTG cDNA library. A clone that hybridized to mtDNA as well as to c-myc was identified. Analysis of the cDNA disclosed that it contained a mtDNA sequence, encoding cytochrome-c oxidase subunit III (coxIII) that was contiguous with and 5' of a c-myc sequence corresponding to part of exon 2 and exon 3. Hybridization of ScaI-digested DNA with a 1.05 kb c-myc probe revealed a unique band in HeLaTG cells, as well as a band common to HeLaTG and 13 other cell types examined. Solution hybridization of HeLaTG RNA with a radiolabeled, single-stranded cDNA probe containing the coxIII-c-myc junction demonstrated a nuclease-resistant band that matched the full length of the junctional cDNA probe. A smaller band that equaled the size of the c-myc portion alone was also detected. Only the smaller band coinciding with the c-myc sequences was protected from nuclease digestion by RNA from other cells. When a radiolabeled probe synthesized in the opposite orientation was used, nuclease-resistant bands equal in length to the coxIII portion of the probe were detected after hybridization with RNA from all cells. These results indicate that insertion of mtDNA fragments into nuclear genes occurs and that subsequent transcription of a 'chimaeric' or 'fusion' mRNA containing both mitochondrial and nuclear sequences can ensue.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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