Mitochondrial diseases involve the dysfunction of the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) system. This group of diseases presents with heterogeneous clinical symptoms affecting mainly organs with high energy demands. Defects in the multimeric complexes comprising the OXPHOS system have a dual genetic origin, mitochondrial or nuclear DNA. Although many nuclear DNA mutations involve genes coding for subunits of the respiratory complexes, the majority of mutations found to date affect factors that do not form part of the final complexes. These assembly factors or chaperones have multiple functions ranging from cofactor insertion to proper assembly/stability of the complexes. Although significant progress has been made in the last few years in the discovery of new assembly factors, the function of many remains elusive. Here, we describe assembly factors or chaperones that are required for respiratory chain complex assembly and their clinical relevance.
Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Ltd.