Nuclear DNA is tightly packed into nucleosomal structure. In contrast, human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) had long been believed to be rather naked because mitochondria lack histone. Mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM), a member of a high mobility group (HMG) protein family and a first-identified mitochondrial transcription factor, is essential for maintenance of mitochondrial DNA. Abf2, a yeast counterpart of human TFAM, is abundant enough to cover the whole region of mtDNA and to play a histone-like role in mitochondria. Human TFAM is indeed as abundant as Abf2, suggesting that TFAM also has a histone-like architectural role for maintenance of mtDNA. When human mitochondria are solubilized with non-ionic detergent Nonidet-P40 and then separated into soluble and particulate fractions, most TFAM is recovered from the particulate fraction together with mtDNA, suggesting that human mtDNA forms a nucleoid structure. TFAM is tightly associated with mtDNA as a main component of the nucleoid.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- History and Philosophy of Science