Zuo XM, Clark-Walker GD, Chen XJ

Genetics. 2002 Apr;160(4):1389-400

The Saccharomyces cerevisiae MGM101 gene encodes a DNA-binding protein targeted to mitochondrial nucleoids. MGM101 is essential formaintenance of a functional rho(+) genome because meiotic segregants, with a disrupted mgm101 allele, cannot undergo more than 10 divisions on glycerol medium. Quantitative analysis of mtDNA copy number in a rho(+) strain carrying a temperature-sensitive allele, mgm101-1, revealed that the amount of mtDNA is halved each cell division upon a shift to the restrictive temperature. These data suggest that mtDNA replication is rapidly blocked in cells lacking MGM101. However, a small proportion of meiotic segregants, disrupted in MGM101, have rho(-) genomes that are stably maintained. Interestingly, all surviving rho(-) mtDNAs contain an ori/rep sequence. Disruption of MGM101 in hypersuppressive (HS) strains does not have a significant effect on the propagation of HS rho(-) mtDNA. However, in petites lacking an ori/rep, disruption of MGM101 leads to either a complete loss or a dramatically decreased stability of mtDNA. This discriminatory effect of MGM101 suggests that replication of rho(+) and ori/rep-devoid rho(-) mtDNAs is carried out by the same process. By contrast, the persistence of ori/rep-containing mtDNA in HS petites lacking MGM101 identifies a distinct replication pathway. The alternative mtDNA replication mechanism provided by ori/rep is independent of mitochondrial RNA polymerase encoded by RPO41 as a HS rho(-) genome is stably maintained in a mgm101, rpo41 double mutant.