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Super-resolution microscopy reveals that mammalian mitochondrial nucleoids have a uniform size and frequently contain a single copy of mtDNA

MPS-Authors

Kukat,  C.
Max Planck Society;

Wurm,  C. A.
Max Planck Society;

Spahr,  H.
Max Planck Society;

Falkenberg,  M.
Max Planck Society;

Larsson,  N. G.
Max Planck Society;

Jakobs,  S.
Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Kukat, C., Wurm, C. A., Spahr, H., Falkenberg, M., Larsson, N. G., & Jakobs, S. (2011). Super-resolution microscopy reveals that mammalian mitochondrial nucleoids have a uniform size and frequently contain a single copy of mtDNA. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 108(33), 13534-9. doi:10.1073/pnas.1109263108.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0028-5931-4
Abstract
Mammalian mtDNA is packaged in DNA-protein complexes denoted mitochondrial nucleoids. The organization of the nucleoid is a very fundamental question in mitochondrial biology and will determine tissue segregation and transmission of mtDNA. We have used a combination of stimulated emission depletion microscopy, enabling a resolution well below the diffraction barrier, and molecular biology to study nucleoids in a panel of mammalian tissue culture cells. We report that the nucleoids labeled with antibodies against DNA, mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM), or incorporated BrdU, have a defined, uniform mean size of approximately 100 nm in mammals. Interestingly, the nucleoid frequently contains only a single copy of mtDNA (average approximately 1.4 mtDNA molecules per nucleoid). Furthermore, we show by molecular modeling and volume calculations that TFAM is a main constituent of the nucleoid, besides mtDNA. These fundamental insights into the organization of mtDNA have broad implications for understanding mitochondrial dysfunction in disease and aging.