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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Rapid mtDNA deletion by oxidants in rat liver mitochondria after hemin exposure.

The amounts of superoxide and hydrogen peroxide generated by mitochondria under physiological conditions can be enhanced by cellular stress. This study tested the hypothesis that the response to hemin-induced stress, which includes heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) induction, predisposes to oxidative damage of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Hepatic mitochondria from control, hemin-, and CO-exposed rats were incubated with tert-butyl hydroperoxide (tert-BH) or the NO donor 1,2,3,4-oxatriazolium, 5-amino-3- (3,4-dichlorophenyl)-chloride (GEA 3162). Mitochondrial total and oxidized glutathione (GSH and GSSG), total and free iron, and 8-oxo-7, 8-dihydro-2' deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) were determined with and without oxidants. As expected, oxidation by tert-BH induced significant GSH depletion and increased amounts of free iron and 8-OhdG. Oxidant exposure rapidly produced a large mtDNA deletion involving the coding regions for cytochrome c oxidase (COX 1) and NADH dehydrogenase ( ND1 and ND2). Hemin and CO greatly exacerbated susceptibility to the deletion of mtDNA by tert-BH, and this was attenuated by preincubation with GSH methyl ester. Analysis of mitochondria-associated proteins Bax and Bcl-xl in hemin- and CO-exposed rats showed significant responses, revealing interactions with apoptotic pathways. Thus, hemin-induced mitochondrial events sensitize a specific region of the mitochondrial genome to deletion, which is related to depletion of GSH and is not explained by effects of CO. This mtDNA damage is associated with altered expression of mitochondrial cell death proteins, thereby suggesting a novel mechanism for systemic or environmental pro-oxidants to influence apoptosis.[1]


  1. Rapid mtDNA deletion by oxidants in rat liver mitochondria after hemin exposure. Suliman, H.B., Carraway, M.S., Velsor, L.W., Day, B.J., Ghio, A.J., Piantadosi, C.A. Free Radic. Biol. Med. (2002) [Pubmed]
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