Mitochondrial DNA damage induced autophagy, cell death, and disease.
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Mammalian mitochondria contain multiple small genomes. While these organelles have efficient base excision removal of oxidative DNA lesions and alkylation damage, many DNA repair systems that work on nuclear DNA damage are not active in mitochondria. What is the fate of DNA damage in the mitochondria that cannot be repaired or that overwhelms the repair system? Some forms of mitochondrial DNA damage can apparently trigger mitochondrial DNA destruction, either via direct degradation or through specific forms of autophagy, such as mitophagy. However, accumulation of certain types of mitochondrial damage, in the absence of DNA ligase III (Lig3) or exonuclease G (EXOG), can directly trigger cell death. This review examines the cellular effects of persistent damage to mitochondrial genomes and discusses the very different cell fates that occur in response to different kinds of damage.
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Truman and Nellie Semans/Alex Brown and Sons Associate Professor of Molecular Environmental Toxicology
Dr. Meyer studies the effects of toxic agents and stressors on human and wildlife health. He is particularly interested in understanding the mechanisms by which environmental agents cause DNA damage, the molecular processes that organisms employ to protect prevent and repair DNA damage, and genetic differences that may lead to increased or decreased sensitivity to DNA damage. Mitochondrial DNA damage and repair, as well as mitochondrial function in general, are a particular focus. He studies