The effect of thyroid hormone on the turnover of mitochondrial DNA and protein was studied in rat heart and liver. Changes in turnover were observed in both thyroidectomized and normal rats following administration of thyroid hormone. In heart and liver the turnover of mitochondrial DNA and protein was slower in thyroidectomized rats than in normal rats. The turnover of mitochondrial DNA and protein was affected similarly following the administration of thyroid hormone, suggesting that mechanisms which control turnover of mitochondrial constituents may be predicated upon a major part of the mitochondrion. In heart a decreased rate of degradation contributes to the increase in total mitochondrial protein. Mitochondrial DNA, labeled before administration of thyroid hormone, turns over, after the start of thyroid hormone administration, at a different rate from that in newly synthesized DNA. The different turnover rates suggest that in liver the pre-existing population of mitochondria is being replaced by another population synthesized under new physiological conditions.

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