Increased TFAM binding to mtDNA damage hot spots is associated with mtDNA loss in aged rat heart

Academic Article


  • The well-known age-related mitochondrial dysfunction deeply affects heart because of the tissue's large dependence on mitochondrial ATP provision. Our study revealed in aged rat heart a significant 25% decrease in mtDNA relative content, a significant 29% increase in the 4.8 Kb mtDNA deletion relative content, and a significant inverse correlation between such contents as well as a significant 38% decrease in TFAM protein amount. The TFAM-binding activity to specific mtDNA regions increased at those encompassing the mtDNA replication origins, D-loop and Ori-L. The same mtDNA regions were screened for different kinds of oxidative damage, namely Single Strand Breaks (SSBs), Double Strand Breaks (DSBs), abasic sites (AP sites) and oxidized bases as 7,8-dihydro-8-oxoguanine (8oxoG). A marked increase in the relative content of mtDNA strand damage (SSBs, DSBs and AP sites) was found in the D-loop and Ori-L regions in the aged animals, unveiling for the first time in vivo an age-related, non-stochastic accumulation of oxidative lesions in these two regions that appear as hot spots of mtDNA damage. The use of Formamidopyrimidine glycosylase (Fpg) demonstrated also a significant age-related accumulation of oxidized purines particularly in the D-loop and Ori-L regions. The detected increased binding of TFAM to the mtDNA damage hot spots in aged heart suggests a link between TFAM binding to mtDNA and loss of mitochondrial genome likely through hindrance of repair processes.
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    Author List

  • Chimienti G; Picca A; Sirago G; Fracasso F; Calvani R; Bernabei R; Russo F; Carter CS; Leeuwenburgh C; Pesce V
  • Start Page

  • 447
  • End Page

  • 453
  • Volume

  • 124