Navigation Links
Biologists map rare case of fitness-reducing interaction in nuclear, mitochondrial DNA

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A team of biologists from Indiana University and Brown University believes it has discovered the mechanism by which interacting mutations in mitochondrial and nuclear DNA produce an incompatible genotype that reduces reproductive fitness and delays development in fruit flies.

The new research, led by IU biologists Kristi Montooth and Colin Meiklejohn and including former IU undergraduate researcher Mo Siddiq, describes the cause and consequences of an interaction between the two genomes that co-exist within eukaryotic cells. Animal mitochondrial DNA, or mtDNA, is a small but important genome that encodes a handful of proteins that are essential to oxidative phosphorylation, the pathway that produces the adenosine triphosphate molecule that fuels cellular metabolism.

With this new characterization of a disruptive interaction between mtDNA and nuclear DNA mutations, the scientists provide one of the few mapped cases of a fitness-reducing mitochondrial-nuclear incompatibility.

The genetic interaction that IU biologists mapped, in collaboration with Brown University biologist David Rand, is between mutations that are present in natural populations, rather than being induced in the lab. This has important consequences for understanding genetically complex human diseases.

Many human diseases, such as neuromuscular and neurodegenerative disorders, are associated with mutations in mitochondrial transfer RNAs, or tRNAs, but a single mutation can be highly variable in the degree to which it leads to disease.

Montooth and her colleagues' findings suggest that the combined mitochondrial-nuclear genotype for tRNAs and their tRNA synthetases may, in fact, be a better predictor of disease.

"Interactions between mitochondrial and nuclear DNA for fitness have been documented in many organisms, but rarely has the genetic or mechanistic basis of these interactions been elucidated," said Montooth, an assistant professor in the IU College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Biology. "This has limited our understanding of which genes harbor variants causing mitochondrial-nuclear disruption and the processes that are impacted by the co-evolution of these genomes."

Using genetic techniques and many resources available from IU's own Bloomington Drosophila Stock Center, the scientists mapped an interaction between a single mutation in a mitochondrial tRNA gene, mt-tRNA-Tyr, and an amino acid change in its nuclear-encoded charging enzyme, the mitochondrially targeted amino acyl tRNA synthetase, mt-TyrRS -- the enzyme that places the proper amino acid on the tRNA to allow for mitochondrial protein synthesis.

"As a result, the incompatibility decreases the activity of the oxidative phosphorylation pathway," Montooth said, "demonstrating that decreased mitochondrial protein synthesis compromises the energetic function required for proper development of adult structures, such as the ovary and sensory bristles."

These types of fitness-reducing genetic incompatibilities are one hypothesized mechanism that can maintain the formation of new species.


Contact: Steve Chaplin
Indiana University

Related biology news :

1. Campus as laboratory: U-M student biologists use Diag trees to help solve gypsy moth mystery
2. Microbiologists eavesdrop on the hidden lives of microbes
3. Iowa State computer, electrical engineers working to help biologists cope with big data
4. Biologists unlock black box to underground world
5. Integrative and comparative biologists to discuss latest research
6. NYU biologists identify proteins vital to chromosome segregation
7. Biologists engineer algae to make complex anti-cancer designer drug
8. Biologists unlocking the secrets of plant defenses, 1 piece at a time
9. SF State biologists tag zombees to track their flight
10. New book on stereology by Mark West is essential reading for neurobiologists
11. UCLA biologists reveal potential fatal flaw in iconic sexual selection study
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Biologists map rare case of fitness-reducing interaction in nuclear, mitochondrial DNA
(Date:10/29/2015)...  The J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) policy group ... Biosecurity: Lessons Learned and Options for the Future," which ... Services guidance for synthetic biology providers has worked since ... --> --> Synthetic biology promises great ... pose unique biosecurity threats. It now is easier than ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... Oct. 29, 2015 Today, LifeBEAM ... partnership with 2XU, a global leader in technical ... smart hat with advanced bio-sensing technology. The hat ... to monitor key biometrics to improve overall training ... the two companies will bring together the most advanced ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... and LAS VEGAS , ... Nok Labs , an innovator in modern authentication and ... today announced the launch of its latest version of ... platform enabling organizations to use standards-based authentication that supports ... Nok S3 Authentication Suite is ideal for organizations deploying ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... The United States Golf Association (USGA) ... USGA Green Section Award. Presented annually since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes ... with turfgrass. , Clarke, of Iselin, N.J., is an extension specialist of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... healthy metabolism. But unless it is bound to proteins, copper is also toxic ... (NIH), researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will conduct a systematic study of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 --> ... "Oligonucleotide Synthesis Market by Product & Services (Primer, Probe, ... DNA, RNAi), End-User (Research, Pharmaceutical & Biotech, Diagnostic Labs) ... market is expected to reach USD 1,918.6 Million by ... CAGR of 10.1% during the forecast period. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 --> ... report released by Transparency Market Research, the global non-invasive ... CAGR of 17.5% during the period between 2014 and ... Global Industry Analysis, Size, Volume, Share, Growth, Trends and ... testing market to reach a valuation of US$2.38 bn ...
Breaking Biology Technology: