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The mitochondrion is an organelle that has its own DNA (mtDNA). Mitochondria play essential roles in energy production and in various cellular processes such as metabolism and signal transduction. In most animals, including humans, although the sperm-derived paternal mitochondria enter the oocyte cytoplasm after fertilization, their mtDNA is never transmitted to the offspring. This pattern of mtDNA inheritance is well known as "maternal inheritance." However, how the paternal mitochondria and mtDNA are eliminated from the cytoplasm of gametes or zygotes remains an enigma. Recently, a variety of mechanisms, including specific nuclease-dependent systems, ubiquitin-proteasome system, and autophagy have been shown to degrade the paternal mtDNA or the paternal mitochondria themselves in order to prevent paternal mtDNA transmission. In this review, we will address the current state of knowledge of the molecular mechanisms underlying the elimination of paternal mtDNA or mitochondrial structures for ensuring the maternal transmission of mtDNA. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Miyuki Sato, Ken Sato. Maternal inheritance of mitochondrial DNA by diverse mechanisms to eliminate paternal mitochondrial DNA. Biochimica et biophysica acta. 2013 Aug;1833(8):1979-84

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PMID: 23524114

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