In some species of bivalve, there are two highly diverged mitochondrial genomes, one found in all individuals (F type) and the other normally in males only (M type). In Mytilus, a maternally-dependent sex ratio of the progeny has been reported. Some females almost exclusively produce daughters, while others produce a high proportion of sons. We previously reported that in M. galloprovincialis, M type mtDNA copy number may be maintained during spermatogenesis and the development of larvae of male-biased mothers to sustain the doubly uniparental inheritance system. In this study, we investigated transcription levels of M type mtDNA before and after fertilization to understand its function in the germ line. First, we quantified transcription levels of M type mtDNA in testicular cells dissected using laser-capture micro-dissection. The transcription levels of M type mtDNA were not significantly different between spermatogonia and spermatocytes versus spermatids and spermatozoa. Next, we examined differences in transcription levels of M type mtDNA between larvae from male-biased and female-biased mothers. The transcription levels of M type mtDNA significantly increased 24 and 48 h after fertilization in male-biased crosses. By contrast, transcription levels significantly decreased in female-biased crosses. These results suggest M type mtDNA may play a role in early germ line formation.
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Vol. 30 • No. 8