Point mutations in mitochondrial (mt) tRNA genes are associated with a variety of human mitochondrial diseases. We have shown previously that mt tRNA(Leu(UUR)) with a MELAS A3243G mutation and mt tRNA(Lys) with a MERRF A8344G mutation derived from HeLa background cybrid cells are deficient in normal taurine-containing modifications [taum(5)(s(2))U; 5-taurinomethyl-(2-thio)uridine] at the anticodon wobble position in both cases. The wobble modification deficiency results in defective translation. We report here wobble modification deficiencies of mutant mt tRNAs from cybrid cells with different nuclear backgrounds, as well as from patient tissues. These findings demonstrate the generality of the wobble modification deficiency in mutant tRNAs in MELAS and MERRF.