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Mitigating Mitochondrial Genome Erosion Without Recombination


Radzvilavicius, Arunas L; Kokko, Hanna; Christie, Joshua R (2017). Mitigating Mitochondrial Genome Erosion Without Recombination. Genetics, 207(3):1079-1088.

Abstract

Mitochondria are ATP-producing organelles of bacterial ancestry that played a key role in the origin and early evolution of complex eukaryotic cells. Most modern eukaryotes transmit mitochondrial genes uniparentally, often without recombination among genetically divergent organelles. While this asymmetric inheritance maintains the efficacy of purifying selection at the level of the cell, the absence of recombination could also make the genome susceptible to Muller's ratchet. How mitochondria escape this irreversible defect accumulation is a fundamental unsolved question. Occasional paternal leakage could in principle promote recombination, but it would also compromise the purifying selection benefits of uniparental inheritance. We assess this tradeoff using a stochastic population-genetic model. In the absence of recombination, uniparental inheritance of freely-segregating genomes mitigates mutational erosion, while paternal leakage exacerbates the ratchet effect. Mitochondrial fusion-fission cycles ensure independent genome segregation, improving purifying selection. Paternal leakage provides opportunity for recombination to slow down the mutation accumulation, but always at a cost of increased steady-state mutation load. Our findings indicate that random segregation of mitochondrial genomes under uniparental inheritance can effectively combat the mutational meltdown, and that homologous recombination under paternal leakage might not be needed.

Abstract

Mitochondria are ATP-producing organelles of bacterial ancestry that played a key role in the origin and early evolution of complex eukaryotic cells. Most modern eukaryotes transmit mitochondrial genes uniparentally, often without recombination among genetically divergent organelles. While this asymmetric inheritance maintains the efficacy of purifying selection at the level of the cell, the absence of recombination could also make the genome susceptible to Muller's ratchet. How mitochondria escape this irreversible defect accumulation is a fundamental unsolved question. Occasional paternal leakage could in principle promote recombination, but it would also compromise the purifying selection benefits of uniparental inheritance. We assess this tradeoff using a stochastic population-genetic model. In the absence of recombination, uniparental inheritance of freely-segregating genomes mitigates mutational erosion, while paternal leakage exacerbates the ratchet effect. Mitochondrial fusion-fission cycles ensure independent genome segregation, improving purifying selection. Paternal leakage provides opportunity for recombination to slow down the mutation accumulation, but always at a cost of increased steady-state mutation load. Our findings indicate that random segregation of mitochondrial genomes under uniparental inheritance can effectively combat the mutational meltdown, and that homologous recombination under paternal leakage might not be needed.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:29 May 2017
Deposited On:17 Jan 2018 18:28
Last Modified:19 Feb 2018 10:18
Publisher:Genetics Society of America
ISSN:0016-6731
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1534/genetics.117.300273
PubMed ID:28893855

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