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Curr Genet. 1997 Feb;31(2):162-70.

Intramolecular cross-overs generate deleted mitochondrial DNA molecules in Podospora anserina.

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Centre de Génétique Moléculaire, Centre national de la Recherche Scientifique, F-91198 Gif sur Yvette cedex, France.


The unavoidable senescence process that limits the vegetative growth of Podospora anserina is always associated with an accumulation of various classes of circular, tandemly arranged, defective mitochondrial DNA molecules (senDNAs). The monomers of the senDNAs belonging to the so-called beta class share a common core, but differ in both their length and termini. To understand the mechanism leading to their formation, we have determined the junction sequence of 36 senDNA beta monomers present in various senescent cultures. In most cases, we observe that: (1) short direct repeats precisely bound the senDNA beta termini and (2) one copy of the repeats is retained in the senDNA sequence. Moreover, PCR analysis of the mitochondrial DNA of some of the senescent cultures, has allowed us to detect another genome which is exactly lacking the sequence of the senDNA beta found in the culture. These results demonstrate that an intramolecular unequal cross-over occurring between short direct repeats can generate deleted mtDNA molecules in P. anserina. In addition, the polymorphism displayed by one pair of repeats allows us to establish that this cross-over may be associated with a short conversion tract spanning a few (about 15) nucleotides.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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