1-Methyl-4-phenylpyridinium ion, a toxin that can cause parkinsonism, alters branched structures of DNA

Mitsutoshi Iwaasa, Shuyo Umeda, Takashi Ohsato, Chihiro Takamatsu, Atushi Fukuoh, Hiroshi Iwasaki, Hideo Shinagawa, Naotaka Hamasaki, Dongchon Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


During replication, human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) takes on a triple-stranded structure known as a D-loop, which is implicated in replication and transcription. 1-Methyl-4-phenylpyridinium ion (MPP+), a toxin inducing parkinsonism, inhibits mtDNA replication, possibly by resolving 'the D-loops. For initiation of mtDNA replication, mitochondria are thought to have another triple-stranded structure, an R-loop. The R-loop, which is resolved by a bacterial junction-specific helicase, RecG, is also resolved by MPP+. Because mitochondrial D-loops are likewise resolved by RecG, the D- and R-loops may share a similar branched structure. MPP+ resolves cruciform DNA in supercoiled DNA. MPP+ converts a stacked conformation to an extended conformation in a synthetic Holliday junction. This conversion is reversed by 1 mM Mg2+, as is the resolution of the D-loops or cruciform DNA. These observations suggest that the junction structure of mitochondrial D- and R-loops is affected by MPP+.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-37
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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