Biogenesis and replication of small plasmid-like derivatives of the mitochondrial DNA in Neurospora crassa.
Hausner G, Nummy KA, Stoltzner S, Hubert SK, Bertrand H
Fungal Genetics and Biology (2005)
Category: mitochondrial DNA ¤ Added: Jan 04, 2006 ¤ Rating: ◊◊
For reasons that are not obvious, sets of related, small, plasmid-like elements appear spontaneously and become amplified in the mitochondria of some cytochrome-deficient and/or UV-sensitive mutants of Neurospora crassa. These plasmid-like DNAs are multimeric series of circular molecules, each consisting of a finite number of identical tandem repeats of a relatively short mtDNA-derived nucleotide sequence (monomer). The plasmid-like elements that have been characterized in this study consist of monomers that vary in length from 125 to 296 base pairs, depending on the strain of origin. Each monomer includes a GC-rich palindrome that is followed by the promoter and a short section of the 5' terminal region of the mitochondrial large-subunit rRNA gene (rnl). Analyses of the nucleotide sequences of variants of this group of elements indicates that they are not generated by intra-molecular recombination, but are the result of single- or double-strand DNA breaks that are produced by a mismatch or base excision repair process. These elements do not appear to contain a defined origin of replication, but replicate by a recombination-dependent rolling-circle mechanism. One- and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis of the plasmid-like element derived HindIII and PstI fragments combined with S1 nuclease treatments suggest that the intergenic GC-rich palindromes, which are ubiquitous in the mtDNA Neurospora, could be replication fork pausing points.