Stable heterogeneity of mitochondrial DNA in grande and petite strains of S. cerevisiae

Alfred S. Lewin, Richard Morimoto, Murray Rabinowitz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Several instances of mitochondrial DNA heterogeneity in grande and petite strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae were examined. We have detected heterogeneity in the mtDNA from some of the progeny strains of a cross between two grande strains (D273-10B, MH41-7B) which differ in genome size and restriction cleavage pattern of their mtDNA. The progeny strains transmit restriction fragments characteristic of both parental strains from homologous regions of the mitochondrial genome, and this sequence heterogeneity is not eliminated by additional subcloning. Sequence diversity is more common in the mtDNA of petite than of grande strains of yeast. We have examined subclones of one petite strain to identify the origin of this variability. Many of the submolar restriction fragments persist in independent subclones of this petite after 15 and 30 cell divisions; some submolar fragments disappear, and some new fragments appear. We conclude that the observed sequence heterogeneity is due to molecular heterogeneity, i.e., to differences in the multiple copies of the petite mitochondrial genome, as well as to clonal heterogeneity. It is likely that tandem repeats on the same mtDNA molecule also differ, i.e., that there is intramolecular heterogeneity, and that this accounts for the stability of the heterogeneity. Continuing deletion is probably responsible for the appearance of "new" fragments in petite subclones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)474-484
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology


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