Molecular Bases of Disease
- Mitochondrial tRNA 3’-end metabolism is critical for the formation of functional tRNAs. Deficient mitochondrial tRNA 3’-end metabolism is linked to an array of human diseases, including optic neuropathy, but their pathophysiology remains poorly understood. In this report, we investigated the molecular mechanism underlying the Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON)-associated tRNAAla 5587A>G mutation, which changes a highly conserved adenosine at position 73 (A73) to guanine (G73) on the 3’-end of the tRNA acceptor stem.
- Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is a maternal inheritance of eye disease because of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations. We previously discovered a 3866T>C mutation within the gene for the ND1 subunit of complex I as possibly amplifying disease progression for patients bearing the disease-causing 11778G>A mutation within the gene for the ND4 subunit of complex I. However, whether and how the ND1 mutation exacerbates the ND4 mutation were unknown. In this report, we showed that four Chinese families bearing both m.3866T>C and m.11778G>A mutations exhibited higher penetrances of LHON than 6 Chinese pedigrees carrying only the m.3866T>C mutation or families harboring only the m.11778G>A mutation.
- Nuclear modifier genes have been proposed to modify the phenotypic expression of mitochondrial DNA mutations. Using a targeted exome-sequencing approach, here we found that the p.191Gly>Val mutation in mitochondrial tyrosyl-tRNA synthetase 2 (YARS2) interacts with the tRNASer(UCN) 7511A>G mutation in causing deafness. Strikingly, members of a Chinese family bearing both the YARS2 p.191Gly>Val and m.7511A>G mutations displayed much higher penetrance of deafness than those pedigrees carrying only the m.7511A>G mutation.
- The 1555A→G mutation in mitochondrial 12S rRNA has been associated with aminoglycoside-induced and non-syndromic deafness in many individuals worldwide. Mitochondrial genetic modifiers are proposed to influence the phenotypic expression of m.1555A→G mutation. Here, we report that a deafness-susceptibility allele (m.4317A→G) in the tRNAIle gene modulates the phenotype expression of m.1555A→G mutation. Strikingly, a large Han Chinese pedigree carrying both m.4317A→G and m.1555A→G mutations exhibited much higher penetrance of deafness than those carrying only the m.1555A→G mutation.
- Defective nucleotide modifications of mitochondrial tRNAs have been associated with several human diseases, but their pathophysiology remains poorly understood. In this report, we investigated the pathogenic molecular mechanism underlying a hypertension-associated 4435A→G mutation in mitochondrial tRNAMet. The m.4435A→G mutation affected a highly conserved adenosine at position 37, 3′ adjacent to the tRNA’s anticodon, which is important for the fidelity of codon recognition and stabilization. We hypothesized that the m.4435A→G mutation introduced an m1G37 modification of tRNAMet, altering its structure and function.
- Several mitochondrial tRNA mutations have been associated with hypertension, but their pathophysiology remains poorly understood. In this report, we identified a novel homoplasmic 3253T→C mutation in the mitochondrial tRNALeu(UUR) gene in a Han Chinese family with maternally inherited hypertension. The m.3253T→C mutation affected a highly conserved uridine at position 22 at the D-stem of tRNALeu(UUR), introducing a G-C base pairing (G13-C22) at the D-stem and a tertiary base pairing (C22-G46) between the D-stem and the variable loop.
- Nuclear modifier gene(s) was proposed to modulate the phenotypic expression of mitochondrial DNA mutation(s). Our previous investigations revealed that a nuclear modifier allele (A10S) in TRMU (methylaminomethyl-2-thiouridylate-methyltransferase) related to tRNA modification interacts with 12S rRNA 1555A→G mutation to cause deafness. The A10S mutation resided at a highly conserved residue of the N-terminal sequence. It was hypothesized that the A10S mutation altered the structure and function of TRMU, thereby causing mitochondrial dysfunction.
- Several mitochondrial tRNA mutations have been associated with maternally inherited diabetes and deafness. However, the pathophysiology of these tRNA mutations remains poorly understood. In this report, we identified the novel homoplasmic 14692A→G mutation in the mitochondrial tRNAGlu gene among three Han Chinese families with maternally inherited diabetes and deafness. The m.14692A→G mutation affected a highly conserved uridine at position 55 of the TΨC loop of tRNAGlu. The uridine is modified to pseudouridine (Ψ55), which plays an important role in the structure and function of this tRNA.