Mitochondrial DNA is strictly maternally inherited, in mice and in other animals. Six of the 13 proteins it encodes are known to be subunits of mitochondrial enzymes, but the rest can also be demonstrated in tissue sections with antibodies. Despite considerable nucleotide sequence divergence among wild mice, the only known phenotypic variation associated with mitochondrial DNA is a transplantation antigen, Mta. the appearance of Mta on the cell surface is the first indication that proteins may be exported from mitochondria. The mechanism of material inheritance and how mitochondrial homogeneity is maintained are still unknown, as are the nature and function of seven of the mitochondrial proteins and of the cell surface antigen, Mta.
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