LETM1, a gene deleted in Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, encodes an evolutionarily conserved mitochondrial protein

Genomics. 2004 Feb;83(2):254-61. doi: 10.1016/j.ygeno.2003.08.013.


The leucine zipper-, EF-hand-containing transmembrane protein 1 (LETM1) has recently been cloned in an attempt to identify genes deleted in Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome (WHS), a microdeletion syndrome characterized by severe growth and mental retardation, hypotonia, seizures, and typical facial dysmorphic features. LETM1 is deleted in almost all patients with the full phenotype and has recently been suggested as an excellent candidate gene for the seizures in WHS patients. We have shown that LETM1 is evolutionarily conserved throughout the eukaryotic kingdom and exhibits homology to MDM38, a putative yeast protein involved in mitochondrial morphology. Using LETM1-EGFP fusion constructs and an anti-rat LetM1 polyclonal antibody we have demonstrated that LETM1 is located in the mitochondria. The present study presents information about a possible function for LETM1 and suggests that at least some (neuromuscular) features of WHS may be caused by mitochondrial dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / analysis
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Craniofacial Abnormalities / genetics
  • Databases, Protein
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Gene Deletion*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / genetics
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / genetics*
  • Membrane Proteins / analysis
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / genetics
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / analysis*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / genetics*
  • Rats
  • Seizures / genetics
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Syndrome


  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • LETM1 protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Proteins