Analysis of mitochondrial DNA by two-dimensional agarose gel electrophoresis.
ABSTRACT In higher vertebrates, the DNA of mitochondria takes the form of circular molecules of approximately 16 kbp. These circles are arranged in multigenomic nucleoprotein complexes or nucleoids. It is envisaged that nucleoid superstructure makes a critical contribution to the twin processes of replication and segregation of mtDNA. Replication intermediates can be isolated from cells or solid tissues and separated on agarose gels in two dimensions to reveal a wealth of data on mechanisms of DNA replication. Using this technique we have demonstrated that many molecules of replicating mtDNA have extensive regions of RNA: DNA hybrid in higher vertebrates. More recently, we have extracted mitochondrial nucleoprotein and analyzed it by the same method to derive information on the distribution of DNA-binding proteins on mitochondrial DNA. Here we describe the procedures used to isolate intact mitochondrial replication intermediates from liver and cultured cells of higher vertebrates and the process of separating DNA fragments on neutral two-dimensional agarose gels.
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ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial DNA synthesis is necessary for the normal function of the organelle and for the eukaryotic organism as a whole. Here we demonstrate, using two-dimensional agarose gel electrophoresis to analyse replication intermediates, that unidirectional, strand-coupled DNA synthesis is the prevalent mode of mtDNA replication in Drosophila melanogaster. Commencing within the single, extended non-coding region (NCR), replication proceeds around the circular genome, manifesting an irregular rate of elongation, and pausing frequently in specific regions. Evidence for a limited contribution of strand-asynchronous DNA synthesis was found in a subset of mtDNA molecules, but confined to the ribosomal RNA gene region, just downstream of the NCR. Our findings imply that strand-coupled replication is widespread amongst metazoans, and should inform future research on mtDNA metabolism in D. melanogaster.PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(1):e53249. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0053249 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: All genomes require a system for avoidance or handling of collisions between the machineries of DNA replication and transcription. We have investigated the roles in this process of the mTERF (mitochondrial transcription termination factor) family members mTTF and mTerf5 in Drosophila melanogaster. The two mTTF binding sites in Drosophila mtDNA, which also bind mTerf5, were found to coincide with major sites of replication pausing. RNAi-mediated knockdown of either factor resulted in mtDNA depletion and developmental arrest. mTTF knockdown decreased site-specific replication pausing, but led to an increase in replication stalling and fork regression in broad zones around each mTTF binding site. Lagging-strand DNA synthesis was impaired, with extended RNA/DNA hybrid segments seen in replication intermediates. This was accompanied by the accumulation of recombination intermediates and nicked/broken mtDNA species. Conversely, mTerf5 knockdown led to enhanced replication pausing at mTTF binding sites, a decrease in fragile replication intermediates containing single-stranded segments, and the disappearance of species containing segments of RNA/DNA hybrid. These findings indicate an essential and previously undescribed role for proteins of the mTERF family in the integration of transcription and DNA replication, preventing unregulated collisions and facilitating productive interactions between the two machineries that are inferred to be essential for completion of lagging-strand DNA synthesis.PLoS Genetics 09/2013; 9(9):e1003800. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003800 · 8.17 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The observation that long tracts of RNA are associated with replicating molecules of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) suggests that the mitochondrial genome of mammals is copied by an unorthodox mechanism. Here we show that these RNA-containing species are present in living cells and tissue, based on interstrand cross-linking. Using DNA synthesis in organello, we demonstrate that isolated mitochondria incorporate radiolabeled RNA precursors, as well as DNA precursors, into replicating DNA molecules. RNA-containing replication intermediates are chased into mature mtDNA, to which they are thus in precursor–product relationship. While a DNA chain terminator rapidly blocks the labeling of mitochondrial replication intermediates, an RNA chain terminator does not. Furthermore, processed L-strand transcripts can be recovered from gel-extracted mtDNA replication intermediates. Therefore, instead of concurrent DNA and RNA synthesis, respectively, on the leading and lagging strands, preformed processed RNA is incorporated as a provisional lagging strand during mtDNA replication. These findings indicate that RITOLS is a physiological mechanism of mtDNA replication, and that it involves a ‘bootlace' mechanism, in which processed transcripts are successively hybridized to the lagging-strand template, as the replication fork advances.Nucleic Acids Research 04/2013; 41(7). DOI:10.1093/nar/gkt196 · 8.81 Impact Factor