How does mitochondrial heteroplasmy affect cell proliferation?
Thesis DisciplineCellular and Molecular Biology
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Mitochondrial mutations and heteroplasmy have been associated with disease states that result from inadequate cellular energy production. As mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) encodes many of the polypeptides involved in oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), mtDNA mutations may lower energy production which is required for cell division and sustained ATP synthesis. In order to test the relationship between mtDNA mutations and the rate of cell division, a mammary epithelial cancer cell line, MCF-7, is used as a model. Nine proliferate single cell clones have been isolated from MCF-7. Population doubling times of six single cell clones and the MCF-7 stock have been determined. Clones with distinctly different growth rates were selected for mutational analysis. Growth rates of these clones appeared to be different from each other. Using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and DNA sequencing, three cases of heteroplasmy have been identified in the mitochondrial genes of the MCF-7 stock and four single cell clones (ATPase C9119T, ND6 T14300G, Cytb G15807A). Heteroplasmy present in the Cytb gene is differs between single cell clones. Differences between the growth rates may be indicative of metabolic variations in these single cell clones. The OXPHOS enzymes encoded by the mutated genes were quantified by standard enzymatic assays. The assays demonstrated significant differences in specific activity between the clones, but were not correlated with mitochondrial heteroplasmy. This thesis determines that the differences in specific activity observed between clones is of nuclear origin.