Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the mutational incidence and spectrum of mitochondrial ND1 gene in subjects with Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON).
Methods: A cohort of 1281 Han Chinese probands and 478 control subjects underwent sequence analysis of mitochondrial (mt)DNA. Resultant variants were evaluated for evolutionary conservation, allelic frequencies, and structural and functional consequences. Respiratory complex activities were measured using lymphoblastoid cell lines derived from 25 probands carrying the mtDNA mutation and 3 controls.
Results: Mutational analysis identified 178 (70 missense and 108 silent) variants in the MT-ND1 gene. The incidences of known m.3460G>A, m.3635G>A, m.3733G>A, m.3866T>C, and m.3394T>C mutations were 1.33%, 0.86%, 0.08%, 0.55%, and 2.97%, respectively. Fifteen novel putative mutations were identified in 27 probands, translated into 2.1% cases of this cohort. The activity of complex I in mutant cell lines carrying one of putative mutations ranged from 66% to 76% of the average values in control cell lines, whereas activities of complexes II, III, and IV in mutant cells were comparable with those in controls. The low penetrances of optic neuropathy were observed in pedigrees carrying novel putative mutation(s). Moreover, mtDNAs in 101 probands carrying the MT-ND1 mutation(s) were widely dispersed among 15 Eastern Asian haplogroups. In particular, the occurrences of haplogroups M, M9, and M10 in patients carrying the ND1 mutations were higher than those in controls.
Conclusions: These data demonstrated that the MT-ND1 gene is a hot spot for mutations associated with LHON. Our findings may provide valuable information for pathophysiology, management, and genetic counseling of LHON.