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Mutations in genes encoding the mitochondrial outer membrane proteins Tom70 and Mdm10 of Podospora anserina modify the spectrum of mitochondrial DNA rearrangements associated with cellular death.

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  • Research Article
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Tom70 and Mdm10 are mitochondrial outer membrane proteins. Tom70 is implicated in the import of proteins from the cytosol into the mitochondria in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Neurospora crassa. Mdm10 is involved in the morphology and distribution of mitochondria in S. cerevisiae. Here we report on the characterization of the genes encoding these proteins in the filamentous fungus Podospora anserina. The two genes were previously genetically identified through a systematic search for nuclear suppressors of a degenerative process displayed by the AS1-4 mutant. The PaTom70 protein shows 80% identity with its N. crassa homolog. The PaMdm10 protein displays 35.9% identity with its S. cerevisiae homolog, and cytological analyses show that the PaMDM10-1 mutant exhibits giant mitochondria, as does the S. cerevisiae mdm10-1 mutant. Mutations in PaTOM70 and PaMDM10 result in the accumulation of specific deleted mitochondrial genomes during the senescence process of the fungus. The phenotypic properties of the single- and double-mutant strains suggest a functional relationship between the Tom70 and Mdm10 proteins. These data emphasize the role of the mitochondrial outer membrane in the stability of the mitochondrial genome in an obligate aerobe, probably through the import process.

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