Differentiation of somatic mitochondria and the structural changes in mtDNA during development of the dicyemid Dicyema japonicum (Mesozoa).
Awata H, Noto T, Endoh H
Molecular Genetics and Genomics (2005)
Category: mitochondria-biogenesis, mitochondria-inheritance, mitochondrial DNA ¤ Added: Aug 03, 2005 ¤ Rating: ◊◊
Dicyemids (Mesozoa) are extremely simple multicellular parasites found in the kidneys of cephalopods. Their mitochondria are known to contain single-gene minicircle DNAs. However, it is not known if the minicircles represent the sole form of mitochondrial genome in these organisms. Here we demonstrate that high-molecular-weight (HMW) mtDNA is present in dicyemids. This form of mtDNA is probably limited to germ cells, and has been analyzed by PCR and Southern hybridization. In situ hybridization revealed that mtDNA is initially amplified during early embryogenesis, and then gradually decreases in copy number as larval development proceeds. Furthermore, we demonstrated using BrdU as a tracer that many of the mitochondria in terminally differentiated somatic cells no longer support DNA synthesis. Taking these observations into account, we propose an "amplification-dilution" model for mesozoan mtDNA. "Stem" mitochondria in the germ cells (1) amplify the HMW form of mtDNA in early embryos, followed by minicircle formation via DNA rearrangement, or (2) selectively replicate minicircles from the HMW DNA, concomitantly with the differentiation of the soma. Minicircle formation may itself lead to the loss of replication origins. Thereafter, the minicircles are simply distributed to daughter mitochondria without replication, resulting in the "somatic" mitochondria, which have lost the replicative form of the HMW mtDNA. The change in mtDNA configuration is discussed in relation to mitochondrial differentiation.
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