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Science. 1989 Oct 27;246(4929):500-3.

Human cells lacking mtDNA: repopulation with exogenous mitochondria by complementation.

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Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena 91125.


Two human cell lines (termed rho 0), which had been completely depleted of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) by long-term exposure to ethidium bromide, were found to be dependent on uridine and pyruvate for growth because of the absence of a functional respiratory chain. Loss of either of these two metabolic requirements was used as a selectable marker for the repopulation of rho 0 cells with exogenous mitochondria by complementation. Transformants obtained with various mitochondrial donors exhibited a respiratory phenotype that was in most cases distinct from that of the rho 0 parent or the donor, indicating that the genotypes of the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes as well as their specific interactions play a role in the respiratory competence of a cell.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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