, Volume 162, Issue 5, pp 463-468

Changes in mitochondrial DNA levels during development of pea (Pisum sativum L.)

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Abstract

The percentage of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) present in total DNA isolated from pea tissues was determined using labeled mtDNA in reassociation kinetics reactions. Embryos contained the highest level of mtDNA, equal to 1.5% of total DNA. This value decreased in light- and dark-grown shoots and leaves, and roots. The lowest value found was in dark-grown shoots; their total DNA contained only 0.3% mtDNA. This may be a reflection of increased nuclear ploidy levels without concomitant mtDNA synthesis. It was possible to compare the mtDNA values directly with previous estimates of the amount of chloroplast DNA (ctDNA) per cell because the same preparations of total DNA were used for both analyses. The embryo contained 1.5% of both mtDNA and ctDNA; this equals 410 copies of mtDNA and 1200 copies of ctDNA per diploid cell. Whereas mtDNA levels decreased to 260 copies in leaf cells of pea, the number of copies of ctDNA increased to 10300. In addition, the levels of ctDNA in first leaves of dark-grown and light-transferred pea were determined, and it was found that leaves of plants maintained in the dark had the same percentage of ctDNA as those transferred to the light.