, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 311-326
Date: 09 May 2003

Genetic conservation versus variability in mitochondria: the architecture of the mitochondrial genome in the petite-negative yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe

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The great amount of molecular information and the many molecular genetic techniques available make Schizosaccharomyces pombe an ideal model eukaryote, complementary to the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In particular, mechanisms involved in mitochiondrial (mt) biogenesis in fission yeast are more similar to higher eukaryotes than to budding yeast. In this review, recent findings on mt morphogenesis, DNA replication and gene expression in this model organism are summarised. A second aspect is the organisation of the mt genome in fission yeast. On the one hand, fission yeast has a strong tendency to maintain mtDNA intact; and, on the other hand, the mt genomes of naturally occurring strains show a great variability. Therefore, the molecular mechanisms behind the susceptibility to mutations in the mtDNA and the mechanisms that promote sequence variations during the evolution of the genome in fission yeast mitochondria are discussed.

Communicated by M. Brunner