Splicing Defect in Mitochondrial Seryl-tRNA Synthetase Gene Causes Progressive Spastic Paresis Instead of HUPRA Syndrome

Hum Mutat. 2016 Sep;37(9):884-8. doi: 10.1002/humu.23021. Epub 2016 Jun 27.


Mitochondrial aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases are an important group of disease genes typically underlying either a disorder affecting an isolated tissue or a distinct syndrome. Missense mutations in the mitochondrial seryl-tRNA synthetase gene, SARS2, have been identified in HUPRA syndrome (hyperuricemia, pulmonary hypertension, renal failure in infancy, and alkalosis). We report here a homozygous splicing mutation in SARS2 in a patient with progressive spastic paresis. We show that the mutation leads to diminished levels of the synthetase in patient's fibroblasts. This has a destabilizing effect on the tRNASer(AGY) isoacceptor, but to a lesser degree than in HUPRA syndrome patients. tRNASer(UCN) is largely unaffected in both phenotypes. In conclusion, the level of tRNASer(AGY) instability may be a factor in determining tissue manifestation in patients with SARS2 mutations. This finding exemplifies the sensitivity of the nervous system to partially reduced aminoacylation, which is sufficient in other tissues to maintain respiratory chain function.

Keywords: SARS2; aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase; seryl-tRNA synthetase; spastic paresis; splicing defect.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mutation*
  • Paraparesis, Spastic / genetics*
  • RNA Splicing*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Serine-tRNA Ligase / genetics*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Serine-tRNA Ligase