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Aconitase couples metabolic regulation to mitochondrial DNA maintenance.

Chen X.J., Wang X., Kaufman B.A., Butow R.A.

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is essential for cells to maintain respiratory competency and is inherited as a protein-DNA complex called the nucleoid. We have identified 22 mtDNA-associated proteins in yeast, among which is mitochondrial aconitase (Aco1p). We show that this Krebs-cycle enzyme is essential for mtDNA maintenance independent of its catalytic activity. Regulation of ACO1 expression by the HAP and retrograde metabolic signaling pathways directly affects mtDNA maintenance. When constitutively expressed, Aco1p can replace the mtDNA packaging function of the high-mobility-group protein Abf2p. Thus, Aco1p may integrate metabolic signals and mtDNA maintenance.

Science 307:714-717(2005) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]