Global genetic determinants of mitochondrial DNA copy number

Academic Article


  • Many human diseases including development of cancer is associated with depletion of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content. These diseases are collectively described as mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDS). High similarity between yeast and human mitochondria allows genomic study of the budding yeast to be used to identify human disease genes. In this study, we systematically screened the pre-existing respiratory-deficient Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast strains using fluorescent microscopy and identified 102 nuclear genes whose deletions result in a complete mtDNA loss, of which 52 are not reported previously. Strikingly, these genes mainly encode protein products involved in mitochondrial protein biosynthesis process (54.9%). The rest of these genes either encode protein products associated with nucleic acid metabolism (14.7%), oxidative phosphorylation (3.9%), or other protein products (13.7%) responsible for bud-site selection, mitochondrial intermembrane space protein import, assembly of cytochrome-c oxidase, vacuolar protein sorting, protein-nucleus import, calcium-mediated signaling, heme biosynthesis and iron homeostasis. Thirteen (12.7%) of the genes encode proteins of unknown function. We identified human orthologs of these genes, conducted the interaction between the gene products and linked them to human mitochondrial disorders and other pathologies. In addition, we screened for genes whose defects affect the nuclear genome integrity. Our data provide a systematic view of the nuclear genes involved in maintenance of mitochondrial DNA. Together, our studies i) provide a global view of the genes regulating mtDNA content; ii) provide compelling new evidence toward understanding novel mechanism involved in mitochondrial genome maintenance and iii) provide useful clues in understanding human diseases in which mitochondrial defect and in particular depletion of mitochondrial genome plays a critical role. © 2014 Zhang, Singh.
  • Published In

  • PLoS One  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 11843852
  • Author List

  • Zhang H; Singh KK
  • Volume

  • 9
  • Issue

  • 8