ISCA2 mutation causes infantile neurodegenerative mitochondrial disorder

J Med Genet. 2015 Mar;52(3):186-94. doi: 10.1136/jmedgenet-2014-102592. Epub 2014 Dec 24.


Background: There are numerous nuclear genes that cause mitochondrial disorders and clinically and genetically heterogeneous disorders whose aetiology often remains unsolved. In this study, we aim to investigate an autosomal recessive syndrome causing leukodystrophy and neuroregression. We studied six patients from five unrelated consanguineous families.

Methods: Patients underwent full neurological, radiological, genetic, metabolic and dysmorphological examinations. Exome sequencing coupled with autozygosity mapping, Sanger sequencing, microsatellite haplotyping, standard and molecular karyotyping and whole mitochondrial DNA sequencing were used to identify the genetic cause of the syndrome. Immunohistochemistry, transmission electron microscopy, confocal microscopy, dipstick assays, quantitative PCR, reverse transcription PCR and quantitative reverse transcription PCR were performed on different tissue samples from the patients.

Results: We identified a homoallelic missense founder mutation in ISCA2 leading to mitochondrial depletion and reduced complex I activity as well as decreased ISCA2, ISCA1 and IBA57 expression in fibroblasts. MRI indicated similar white matter abnormalities in the patients. Histological examination of the skeletal muscle showed mild to moderate variation in myofibre size and the presence of many randomly distributed atrophic fibres.

Conclusions: Our data demonstrate that ISCA2 deficiency leads to a hereditary mitochondrial neurodegenerative white matter disease in infancy.

Keywords: Genetics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alexander Disease / genetics*
  • Alexander Disease / physiopathology
  • Child, Preschool
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • Exome / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins / genetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / genetics*
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / physiopathology
  • Mutation, Missense
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / genetics*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / physiopathology
  • Pedigree
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • White Matter / abnormalities
  • White Matter / metabolism


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Iron-Sulfur Proteins