ATPase family AAA-domain containing protein 3A (ATAD3A) is a nuclear-encoded mitochondrial membrane protein implicated in mitochondrial dynamics, nucleoid organization, protein translation, cell growth, and cholesterol metabolism. We identified a recurrent de novo ATAD3A c.1582C>T (p.Arg528Trp) variant by whole-exome sequencing (WES) in five unrelated individuals with a core phenotype of global developmental delay, hypotonia, optic atrophy, axonal neuropathy, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. We also describe two families with biallelic variants in ATAD3A, including a homozygous variant in two siblings, and biallelic ATAD3A deletions mediated by nonallelic homologous recombination (NAHR) between ATAD3A and gene family members ATAD3B and ATAD3C. Tissue-specific overexpression of borR534W, the Drosophila mutation homologous to the human c.1582C>T (p.Arg528Trp) variant, resulted in a dramatic decrease in mitochondrial content, aberrant mitochondrial morphology, and increased autophagy. Homozygous null bor larvae showed a significant decrease of mitochondria, while overexpression of borWT resulted in larger, elongated mitochondria. Finally, fibroblasts of an affected individual exhibited increased mitophagy. We conclude that the p.Arg528Trp variant functions through a dominant-negative mechanism that results in small mitochondria that trigger mitophagy, resulting in a reduction in mitochondrial content. ATAD3A variation represents an additional link between mitochondrial dynamics and recognizable neurological syndromes, as seen with MFN2, OPA1, DNM1L, and STAT2 mutations.
Keywords: ATAD3A; CNV; cardiomyopathy; de novo variant; dominant negative; mitochondrial dynamics; neuropathy; optic atrophy; whole-exome sequencing.
Copyright © 2016 American Society of Human Genetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.