A novel mitochondrial DNA mutation and a mutation in the Notch3 gene in a patient with myopathy and CADASIL

J Mol Med (Berl). 2001 Nov;79(11):641-7. doi: 10.1007/s001090100268.


Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) is characterized by cerebral symptoms, but peripheral nerve or muscle involvement has not been reported. We describe a patient who had a stereotypic clinical presentation of CADASIL and, in addition, myopathy with ragged-red fibers, suggesting a mitochondrial disorder. Therefore we determined the nucleotide sequence in the entire coding region of the patient's mtDNA by conformation-sensitive gel electrophoresis and sequencing. Sequence of the exon 4 in the Notch3 gene was determined in a similar fashion. We found that the patient had myopathy with ragged-red fibers, and ultrastructural examination revealed mitochondrial aberrations. CADASIL was due to an R133C mutation in Notch3; in addition, we found a novel mutation 5650G>A in the tRNAAla gene in mtDNA. The mutation was heteroplasmic, with the proportions of the mutant genome being 99% in muscle, 96% in the buccal epithelium, 95% in the skin, and 65% in the blood. The absence of the mutation in a maternal cousin four times removed indicated that it was new in the pedigree. We suggest that the mtDNA mutation is pathogenic, as it was associated with a relevant clinical phenotype, it was not found among controls, and it altered a structurally important segment in the amino acid acceptor stem in the tRNAAla. Furthermore, its absence in nine patients from five families with R133C suggests that its relationship with the Notch3 mutation is coincidental.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Brain / pathology
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA, Mitochondrial*
  • Dementia, Multi-Infarct / genetics*
  • Exons
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Muscles / ultrastructure
  • Muscular Diseases / genetics*
  • Mutation*
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Phenotype
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • RNA, Transfer, Ala / genetics
  • Receptor, Notch3
  • Receptors, Cell Surface*
  • Receptors, Notch


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • NOTCH3 protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • RNA, Transfer, Ala
  • Receptor, Notch3
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Notch