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Am J Physiol. 1994 Jul;267(1 Pt 1):C229-35.

Coordination of nuclear and mitochondrial gene expression during the development of cardiac hypertrophy in rats.

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Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Illinois 60637.


We studied the coordination of nuclear and mitochondrial gene expression during cardiac hypertrophy following aortic stenosis or thyroid hormone treatment in rats. We measured mRNA levels for representative subunits of cytochrome-c oxidase, two encoded by mitochondrial DNA and two encoded by the nucleus, as well as the levels of one mitochondrial rRNA. In both models of hypertrophy, an increase of total tissue RNA, reflecting mainly cytosolic ribosomes, accompanied the increase in ventricular weight. Relative levels of mitochondrial rRNA remained unchanged, indicating a net synthesis of mitochondrial ribosomes as well. In both models, cytochrome-c oxidase activity and nuclear-encoded mRNAs remained fairly constant, whereas levels of mitochondrial mRNAs were transiently decreased 24 h after the growth stimulus. We conclude that, in the initial phase of hypertrophy, the signal regulating the synthesis of mitochondrial rRNA is synchronized with nuclear gene expression, whereas the signal regulating mitochondrial mRNA synthesis is not. We postulate that differential regulation of mitochondrial transcription and premature termination of the polycistronic transcript (the latter giving rise to the mitochondrial rRNAs) account for the observed results.

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