, Volume 10, Issue 8, pp 565-571

A direct study of the relative synthesis of petite and grande mitochondrial DNA in zygotes from crosses involving suppressive petite mutants of Saccharomyces cerevisiae

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Work in recent years has produced indirect evidence to support the view that the phenomenon of suppressiveness in yeast is the result of the ability of the petite mtDNA to out-replicate the wild-type genome. We have developed a method, based on fluorography of gels containing restriction fragments of radioactively labelled zygotic mtDNA, by which it has been possible to follow directly the incorporation of label into the two mtDNA species and hence their relative synthesis. Four petite isolates of 70%, 43%, 23% and 12% suppressiveness were tested by this method in crosses with a grande strain. Only the mtDNA from the 70% suppressive petite showed a replicative advantage over the grande mtDNA. The mtDNA from the 43% and 23% suppressive actually appeared to undergo, if anything, less replication in the zygote than the grande mtDNA. It is concluded that while some petites may exhibit suppressiveness as a result of enhanced replicative efficiency of their mtDNA, this cannot be the explanation for all suppressive petite strains.