Taku Amoa, Nagendra Yadavab, Richard Ohb, David G. Nichollsb and Martin D. Brand
Studies of both survival after sepsis and sperm motility in human populations have shown significant associations with common European mitochondrial DNA haplogroups, and have led to proposals that mitochondria bearing haplogroup H have different bioenergetic capacities than those bearing haplogroup T. However, the validity of such associations assumes that there are no non-random influences of nuclear genes or other factors. Here, we removed the effect of any differences in nuclear genes by constructing transmitochondrial cybrids harbouring mitochondria with either haplogroup H or haplogroup T in cultured A549 human lung carcinoma cells with identical nuclear backgrounds. We compared the bioenergetic capacities and coupling efficiencies of mitochondria isolated from these cells, and of mitochondria retained within the cells, as a critical experimental test of the hypothesis that these haplogroups affect mitochondrial bioenergetics. We found that there were no functionally-important bioenergetic differences between mitochondria bearing these haplogroups, using either isolated mitochondria or mitochondria within cells.