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Heteroplasmy and Copy Number in the Common m.3243A>G Mutation—A Post-Mortem Genotype–Phenotype Analysis

Authors
  • Motlagh Scholle, Leila
  • Zierz, Stephan
  • Mawrin, Christian
  • Wickenhauser, Claudia
  • Lehmann Urban, Diana
Type
Published Article
Journal
Genes
Publisher
MDPI AG
Publication Date
Feb 18, 2020
Volume
11
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3390/genes11020212
PMID: 32085658
PMCID: PMC7073558
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

Different mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations have been identified to cause mitochondrial encephalopathy, lactate acidosis and stroke-like episodes (MELAS). The underlying genetic cause leading to an enormous clinical heterogeneity associated with m.3243A>G-related mitochondrial diseases is still poorly understood. Genotype–phenotype correlation (heteroplasmy levels and clinical symptoms) was analysed in 16 patients (15 literature cases and one unreported case) harbouring the m.3243A>G mutation. mtDNA copy numbers were correlated to heteroplasmy levels in 30 different post-mortem tissue samples, including 14 brain samples of a 46-year-old female. In the central nervous system, higher levels of heteroplasmy correlated significantly with lower mtDNA copy numbers. Skeletal muscle levels of heteroplasmy correlated significantly with kidney and liver. There was no significant difference of heteroplasmy levels between clinically affected and unaffected patients. In the patient presented, we found >75% heteroplasmy levels in all central nervous system samples, without harbouring a MELAS phenotype. This underlines previous suggestions, that really high levels in tissues do not automatically lead to a specific phenotype. Missing significant differences of heteroplasmy levels between clinically affected and unaffected patients underline recent suggestions that there are additional factors such as mtDNA copy number and nuclear factors that may also influence disease severity.

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