Enhanced mitochondrial G-quadruplex formation impedes replication fork progression leading to mtDNA loss in human cells.

Doimo M, Chaudhari N, Abrahamsson S, L'Hôte V, Nguyen TVH, Berner A, Ndi M, Abrahamsson A, Das RN, Aasumets K, Goffart S, Pohjoismäki JLO, López MD, Chorell E, Wanrooij S

Nucleic Acids Res. 51 (14) 7392-7408 [2023-08-11; online 2023-06-23]

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) replication stalling is considered an initial step in the formation of mtDNA deletions that associate with genetic inherited disorders and aging. However, the molecular details of how stalled replication forks lead to mtDNA deletions accumulation are still unclear. Mitochondrial DNA deletion breakpoints preferentially occur at sequence motifs predicted to form G-quadruplexes (G4s), four-stranded nucleic acid structures that can fold in guanine-rich regions. Whether mtDNA G4s form in vivo and their potential implication for mtDNA instability is still under debate. In here, we developed new tools to map G4s in the mtDNA of living cells. We engineered a G4-binding protein targeted to the mitochondrial matrix of a human cell line and established the mtG4-ChIP method, enabling the determination of mtDNA G4s under different cellular conditions. Our results are indicative of transient mtDNA G4 formation in human cells. We demonstrate that mtDNA-specific replication stalling increases formation of G4s, particularly in the major arc. Moreover, elevated levels of G4 block the progression of the mtDNA replication fork and cause mtDNA loss. We conclude that stalling of the mtDNA replisome enhances mtDNA G4 occurrence, and that G4s not resolved in a timely manner can have a negative impact on mtDNA integrity.

Clinical Genomics Gothenburg [Collaborative]

PubMed 37351621

DOI 10.1093/nar/gkad535

Crossref 10.1093/nar/gkad535

pmc: PMC10415151
pii: 7205764

Publications 9.5.0