G. Lehmann, A. Budovsky, K. Muradian, V. Fraifeld

Several lines of evidence implicate mtDNA in the control of aging and longevity. Yet, there is a limited number of studies attempting to compare the basic mtDNA characteristics with species-specific (maximum) lifespan (MLS). Therefore, we examined correlative links between mtDNA composition and MLS of multicellular eukaryotes. For this purpose, we built a new database containing 144 species from 11 classes. Among the species examined, mtDNA size varied within a relatively narrow range, from 13,794 to 20,001 bps (1.45-fold difference), while the difference in the MLS was 7,650-fold (from 0.16 to 122.4 years). A significant negative correlation between mtDNA size and MLS was found in primates. It was however insignificant, when all the taxa or all mammalian species were analyzed. In contrast, we found a strong negative correlation between MLS and mitochondrial AT ratio for all taxa examined. Similar results were obtained for A+T base pair absolute count. Of note, MLS inversely correlates with the number of pyrimidine dimers. The latter could be attributed to an increased formation of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers due to the lack of nucleotide excision repair in mitochondria (the main mechanism to eliminate this type of mutations). The results suggest that the MLS may be associated with stability and mutability of mtDNA and call for further investigation of mitochondrial genome anatomy.

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maximum lifespan