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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Adaptive expression responses in the Pol-γ null strain of S. pombe depleted of mitochondrial genome

Zhaoqing Chu1, Juntao Li2, Majid Eshaghi1, R Krishna Murthy Karuturi2, Kui Lin3 and Jianhua Liu14*

Author Affiliations

1 Systems Biology, Genome Institute of Singapore, Singapore 138672, Singapore

2 Computational and Mathematical Biology, Genome Institute of Singapore, Singapore 138672, Singapore

3 College of Life Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China

4 Department of Biochemistry, Yong Loo Ling School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117597, Singapore

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BMC Genomics 2007, 8:323  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-8-323

Published: 15 September 2007



DNA polymerase γ(Pol-γ) has been shown to be essential for maintenance of the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) in the petite-positive budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Budding yeast cells lacking mitochondria exhibit a slow-growing or petite-colony phenotype. Petite strains fail to grow on non-fermentable carbon sources. However, it is not clear whether the Pol-γ is required for mtDNA maintenance in the petite-negative fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe.


We show that disruption of the nuclear gene pog1+ that encodes Pol-γ is sufficient to deplete mtDNA in S. pombe. Cells bearing pog1Δ allele require substantial growth periods to form petite colonies. Mitotracker assays indicate that pog1Δ cells are defective in mitochondrial function and EM analyses suggest that pog1Δ cells lack normal mitochondrial structures. Depletion of mtDNA in pog1Δ cells is evident from quantitative real-time PCR assays. Genome-wide expression profiles of pog1Δ and other mtDNA-less cells reveal that many genes involved in response to stimulus, energy derivation by oxidation of organic compounds, cellular carbohydrate metabolism, and energy reserve metabolism are induced. Conversely, many genes encoding proteins involved in amino acid metabolism and oxidative phosphorylation are repressed.


By showing that Pol-γ is essential for mtDNA maintenance and disruption of pog1+ alters the genome-wide expression profiles, we demonstrated that cells lacking mtDNA exhibit adaptive nuclear gene expression responses in the petite-negative S. pombe.