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Med Sci (Paris). 2019 Jan;35(1):46-54. doi: 10.1051/medsci/2018308. Epub 2019 Jan 23.

[The underestimated coding potential of mitochondrial DNA].

[Article in French]

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Département de sciences biologiques, université de Montréal, pavillon Marie-Victorin, faculté des arts et des sciences. CP 6128, succursale centre-ville, Montréal QC, H3C 3J7, Canada.


Mitochondria are ancient organelles that emerged from the endosymbiosis of free-living proto-bacteria. They still retain a semi-autonomous genetic system with a small genome. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) codes for 13 essential proteins for the production of ATP, the sequences of which are relatively conserved across Metazoans. The discovery of additional mitochondria-derived peptides (MDPs) indicates an underestimated coding potential. Humanin, an anti-apoptotic peptide, is likely independently transcribed from within the 16S rRNA gene, as are recently described SHLPs. MOTS-c, discovered in silico, has been demonstrated to be involved in metabolism and insulin sensitivity. Gau, is a positionally conserved open reading frame (ORF) sequence found in the antisense strand of the COX1 gene and its corresponding peptide is strictly colocalized with mitochondrial markers. In bivalves with doubly uniparental inheritance of mtDNA, male and female mtDNAs each carry a separate additional gene possibly involved in sex determination. Other MDPs likely exist and their investigation will shed light on the underestimated functional repertoire of mitochondria.


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