© 2014 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
Variation in the topology of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in eukaryotes evokes the question if differently structured DNAs are replicated by a common mechanism. RNA-primed DNA synthesis has been established as a mechanism for replicating the circular animal/mammalian mtDNA. In yeasts, circular mtDNA molecules were assumed to be templates for rolling circle DNA-replication. We recently showed that in Candida albicans, which has circular mapping mtDNA, recombination driven replication is a major mechanism for replicating a complex branched mtDNA network. Careful analyses of C. albicans-mtDNA did not reveal detectable amounts of circular DNA molecules. In the present study we addressed the question of how the unit sized linear mtDNA of Candida parapsilosis terminating at both ends with arrays of tandem repeats (mitochondrial telomeres) is replicated. Originally, we expected to find replication intermediates diagnostic of canonical bi-directional replication initiation at the centrally located bi-directional promoter region. However, we found that the linear mtDNA of Candida parapsilosis also employs recombination for replication initiation. The most striking findings were that the mitochondrial telomeres appear to be hot spots for recombination driven replication, and that stable RNA:DNA hybrids, with a potential role in mtDNA replication, are also present in the mtDNA preparations.