Rapid identification of unknown heteroplasmic mutations across the entire human mitochondrial genome with mismatch-specific Surveyor Nuclease

Nat Protoc. 2006;1(4):2037-47. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2006.318.


Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations are responsible for mitochondrial diseases in numerous patients. But, until now, no rapid method was available for the identification of unknown deleterious point mutations. Here, we describe a new strategy for the rapid identification of heteroplasmic mtDNA mutations using mismatch-specific Surveyor Nuclease. This protocol involves the following three steps: (i) PCR amplification of the entire human mitochondrial genome in 17 overlapping fragments; (ii) localization of mtDNA mismatch(es) after digestion of the 17 amplicons by Surveyor Nuclease; and (iii) identification of the mutation by sequencing the region containing the mismatch. This Surveyor Nuclease-based strategy allows a systematic screening of the entire mtDNA to identify a mutation within 2 days. It represents an important diagnostic approach for mitochondrial diseases that can be routinely used in molecular diagnostic laboratories.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Pair Mismatch*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial*
  • Endodeoxyribonucleases*
  • Genome, Human*
  • Humans
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / diagnosis
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Endodeoxyribonucleases