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      Natural Heteroplasmy and Mitochondrial Inheritance in Bivalve Molluscs

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          Abstract

          Heteroplasmy is the presence of more than one type of mitochondrial genome within an individual, a condition commonly reported as unfavorable and affecting mitonuclear interactions. So far, no study has investigated heteroplasmy at protein level, and whether it occurs within tissues, cells, or even organelles. The only known evolutionarily stable and natural heteroplasmic system in Metazoa is the Doubly Uniparental Inheritance (DUI)—reported so far in ∼100 bivalve species—in which two mitochondrial lineages are present: one transmitted through eggs (F-type) and the other through sperm (M-type). Because of such segregation, mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation proteins reach a high amino acid sequence divergence (up to 52%) between the two lineages in the same species. Natural heteroplasmy coupled with high sequence divergence between F- and M-type proteins provides a unique opportunity to study their expression and assess the level and extent of heteroplasmy. Here, for the first time, we immunolocalized F- and M-type variants of three mitochondrially-encoded proteins in the DUI species Ruditapes philippinarum, in germline and somatic tissues at different developmental stages. We found heteroplasmy at organelle level in undifferentiated germ cells of both sexes, and in male soma, whereas gametes were homoplasmic: eggs for the F-type and sperm for the M-type. Thus, during gametogenesis, only the sex-specific mitochondrial variant is maintained, likely due to a process of meiotic drive. We examine the implications of our results for DUI proposing a revised model, and we discuss interactions of mitochondria with germ plasm and their role in germline development. Molecular and phylogenetic evidence suggests that DUI evolved from the common Strictly Maternal Inheritance, so the two systems likely share the same underlying molecular mechanism, making DUI a useful system for studying mitochondrial biology.

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          Mitochondrial dynamics and inheritance during cell division, development and disease.

          During cell division, it is critical to properly partition functional sets of organelles to each daughter cell. The partitioning of mitochondria shares some common features with that of other organelles, particularly in the use of interactions with cytoskeletal elements to facilitate delivery to the daughter cells. However, mitochondria have unique features - including their own genome and a maternal mode of germline transmission - that place additional demands on this process. Consequently, mechanisms have evolved to regulate mitochondrial segregation during cell division, oogenesis, fertilization and tissue development, as well as to ensure the integrity of these organelles and their DNA, including fusion-fission dynamics, organelle transport, mitophagy and genetic selection of functional genomes. Defects in these processes can lead to cell and tissue pathologies.
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            Mitochondrial threshold effects.

            The study of mitochondrial diseases has revealed dramatic variability in the phenotypic presentation of mitochondrial genetic defects. To attempt to understand this variability, different authors have studied energy metabolism in transmitochondrial cell lines carrying different proportions of various pathogenic mutations in their mitochondrial DNA. The same kinds of experiments have been performed on isolated mitochondria and on tissue biopsies taken from patients with mitochondrial diseases. The results have shown that, in most cases, phenotypic manifestation of the genetic defect occurs only when a threshold level is exceeded, and this phenomenon has been named the 'phenotypic threshold effect'. Subsequently, several authors showed that it was possible to inhibit considerably the activity of a respiratory chain complex, up to a critical value, without affecting the rate of mitochondrial respiration or ATP synthesis. This phenomenon was called the 'biochemical threshold effect'. More recently, quantitative analysis of the effects of various mutations in mitochondrial DNA on the rate of mitochondrial protein synthesis has revealed the existence of a 'translational threshold effect'. In this review these different mitochondrial threshold effects are discussed, along with their molecular bases and the roles that they play in the presentation of mitochondrial diseases.
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              The dynamics of mitochondrial DNA heteroplasmy: implications for human health and disease.

              Common genetic variants of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) increase the risk of developing several of the major health issues facing the western world, including neurodegenerative diseases. In this Review, we consider how these mtDNA variants arose and how they spread from their origin on one single molecule in a single cell to be present at high levels throughout a specific organ and, ultimately, to contribute to the population risk of common age-related disorders. mtDNA persists in all aerobic eukaryotes, despite a high substitution rate, clonal propagation and little evidence of recombination. Recent studies have found that de novo mtDNA mutations are suppressed in the female germ line; despite this, mtDNA heteroplasmy is remarkably common. The demonstration of a mammalian mtDNA genetic bottleneck explains how new germline variants can increase to high levels within a generation, and the ultimate fixation of less-severe mutations that escape germline selection explains how they can contribute to the risk of late-onset disorders.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                (View ORCID Profile)
                (View ORCID Profile)
                Journal
                Integrative and Comparative Biology
                Oxford University Press (OUP)
                1540-7063
                1557-7023
                October 2019
                October 01 2019
                May 23 2019
                October 2019
                October 01 2019
                May 23 2019
                : 59
                : 4
                : 1016-1032
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences (BiGeA), University of Bologna, Bologna 40126, Italy
                [2 ]National Scientific Centre of Marine Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences Far Eastern Branch, Vladivostok 690041, Russia
                [3 ]Department of Biology, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish N.S. B2G 2W5, Canada
                [4 ]Departamento de Fisiología e Inmunología, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona 08028, Spain
                Article
                10.1093/icb/icz061
                31120503
                f36cdeab-2661-4b14-a1ff-0768ab10b43d
                © 2019

                https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/open_access/funder_policies/chorus/standard_publication_model

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