Genotypic stability, segregation and selection in heteroplasmic human cell lines containing np 3243 mutant mtDNA.

TitleGenotypic stability, segregation and selection in heteroplasmic human cell lines containing np 3243 mutant mtDNA.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsLehtinen, SK, Hance, N, A Meziane, E, Juhola, MK, Juhola, KM, Karhu, R, Spelbrink, JN, Holt, IJ, Jacobs, HT
Date Published2000 Jan
KeywordsBase Sequence, Cytoskeleton, Dimethyl Sulfoxide, DNA Primers, DNA, Mitochondrial, Genotype, Humans, Mutation, Phenotype, Selection, Genetic, Tumor Cells, Cultured

The mitochondrial genotype of heteroplasmic human cell lines containing the pathological np 3243 mtDNA mutation, plus or minus its suppressor at np 12300, has been followed over long periods in culture. Cell lines containing various different proportions of mutant mtDNA remained generally at a consistent, average heteroplasmy value over at least 30 wk of culture in nonselective media and exhibited minimal mitotic segregation, with a segregation number comparable with mtDNA copy number (>/=1000). Growth in selective medium of cells at 99% np 3243 mutant mtDNA did, however, allow the isolation of clones with lower levels of the mutation, against a background of massive cell death. As a rare event, cell lines exhibited a sudden and dramatic diversification of heteroplasmy levels, accompanied by a shift in the average heteroplasmy level over a short period (<8 wk), indicating selection. One such episode was associated with a gain of chromosome 9. Analysis of respiratory phenotype and mitochondrial genotype of cell clones from such cultures revealed that stable heteroplasmy values were generally reestablished within a few weeks, in a reproducible but clone-specific fashion. This occurred independently of any straightforward phenotypic selection at the individual cell-clone level. Our findings are consistent with several alternate views of mtDNA organization in mammalian cells. One model that is supported by our data is that mtDNA is found in nucleoids containing many copies of the genome, which can themselves be heteroplasmic, and which are faithfully replicated. We interpret diversification and shifts of heteroplasmy level as resulting from a reorganization of such nucleoids, under nuclear genetic control. Abrupt remodeling of nucleoids in vivo would have major implications for understanding the developmental consequences of heteroplasmy, including mitochondrial disease phenotype and progression.

Alternate JournalGenetics
Citation Key1899
PubMed ID10628996
PubMed Central IDPMC1460892
Grant ListMC_U105663140 / / Medical Research Council / United Kingdom