In order to assess the effect of nuclear gene dosage on the regulation of mitochondria we have studied serial sections of a set of isogenic haploid and diploid cells of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, growing exponentially in the absence of catabolite repression, and determined the amount of mitochondrial DNA per cell.
Mitochondria accounted for 14% of the cytoplasmic and 12% of the total cellular volume in all cells examined regardless of their ploidy or their apparent stage in the cell cycle. The mean number of mitochondria per cell was 22 in the diploid and 10 in the haploids. The volume distribution appeared unimodal and identical in haploids and diploids. The mitochondrial DNA accounted for 12.6 ± 1.2% and 13.5 ± 1.3% of the total cellular DNA in the diploid and haploid populations, respectively. These values correspond to 3.6 x 10-15 g, 2.2 x 109 daltons, or 44 genomes (50 x 106 daltons each) per haploid and twice that per diploid cell. On this basis, the average mitochondrion in these cells contains four mitochondrial genomes in both the haploid and the diploid.