Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) maintenance is critical for oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) since some subunits of the respiratory chain complexes are mitochondrially encoded. Pathological mutations in nuclear genes involved in the mtDNA metabolism may result in a quantitative decrease in mtDNA levels, referred to as mtDNA depletion, or in qualitative defects in mtDNA, especially in multiple deletions. Since, in the last decade, most of the novel mutations have been identified through whole-exome sequencing, it is crucial to confirm the pathogenicity by functional analysis in the appropriate model systems. Among these, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has proved to be a good model for studying mutations associated with mtDNA instability. This review focuses on the use of yeast for evaluating the pathogenicity of mutations in six genes, MPV17/SYM1, MRM2/MRM2, OPA1/MGM1, POLG/MIP1, RRM2B/RNR2, and SLC25A4/AAC2, all associated with mtDNA depletion or multiple deletions. We highlight the techniques used to construct a specific model and to measure the mtDNA instability as well as the main results obtained. We then report the contribution that yeast has given in understanding the pathogenic mechanisms of the mutant variants, in finding the genetic suppressors of the mitochondrial defects and in the discovery of molecules able to improve the mtDNA stability.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a tool for studying mutations in nuclear genes involved in diseases caused by mitochondrial DNA instability / Gilea, A. I.; Ceccatelli Berti, C.; Magistrati, M.; Di Punzio, G.; Goffrini, P.; Baruffini, E.; Dallabona, C.. - In: GENES. - ISSN 2073-4425. - 12(2021), pp. 1866.1-1866.34. [10.3390/genes12121866]
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