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IUBMB Life. 2010 Jan;62(1):19-32. doi: 10.1002/iub.282.

Functional organization of mammalian mitochondrial DNA in nucleoids: history, recent developments, and future challenges.

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FinMIT Centre of Excellence, Institute of Medical Technology and Tampere University Hospital, University of Tampere, Tampere 33014 TAY, Finland.


Various proteins involved in replication, repair, and the structural organization of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) have been characterized in detail over the past 25 or so years. In addition, in recent years, many proteins were identified with a role in the dynamics of the mitochondrial network. Using advanced imaging and an increasing number of cytological techniques, we have begun to realize that an important aspect to mtDNA maintenance, in both health and disease, is its organization within the dynamic mitochondrial network in discrete protein-DNA complexes usually termed nucleoids. Here, I review recent developments in the study of nucleoid dynamics and proteins. I will discuss the implications of the organization of mtDNA in nucleoids in light of DNA replication, repair, gene expression, segregation, and inheritance.

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