Article

Mitochondrial point mutations do not limit the natural lifespan of mice

University of Washington Seattle, Seattle, Washington, United States
Nature Genetics (Impact Factor: 29.65). 05/2007; 39(4):540-3. DOI: 10.1038/ng1988
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Whether mitochondrial mutations cause mammalian aging, or are merely correlated with it, is an area of intense debate. Here, we use a new, highly sensitive assay to redefine the relationship between mitochondrial mutations and age. We measured the in vivo rate of change of the mitochondrial genome at a single-base pair level in mice, and we demonstrate that the mutation frequency in mouse mitochondria is more than ten times lower than previously reported. Although we observed an 11-fold increase in mitochondrial point mutations with age, we report that a mitochondrial mutator mouse was able to sustain a 500-fold higher mutation burden than normal mice, without any obvious features of rapidly accelerated aging. Thus, our results strongly indicate that mitochondrial mutations do not limit the lifespan of wild-type mice.

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