Novel MT-ND Gene Variants Causing Adult-Onset Mitochondrial Disease and Isolated Complex I Deficiency

Front Genet. 2020 Feb 25:11:24. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2020.00024. eCollection 2020.


Mitochondrial complex I deficiency is associated with a diverse range of clinical phenotypes and can arise due to either mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) or nuclear gene defects. We investigated two adult patients who exhibited non-syndromic neurological features and evidence of isolated mitochondrial complex I deficiency in skeletal muscle biopsies. The first presented with indolent myopathy, progressive since age 17, while the second developed deafness around age 20 and other relapsing-remitting neurological symptoms since. A novel, likely de novo, frameshift variant in MT-ND6 (m.14512_14513del) and a novel maternally-inherited transversion mutation in MT-ND1 were identified, respectively. Skewed tissue segregation of mutant heteroplasmy level was observed; the mutant heteroplasmy levels of both variants were greater than 70% in muscle homogenate, however, in blood the MT-ND6 variant was undetectable while the mutant heteroplasmy level of the MT-ND1 variant was low (12%). Assessment of complex I assembly by Blue-Native PAGE demonstrated a decrease in fully assembled complex I in the muscle of both cases. SDS-PAGE and immunoblotting showed decreased levels of mtDNA-encoded ND1 and several nuclear encoded complex I subunits in both cases, consistent with functional pathogenic consequences of the identified variants. Pathogenicity of the m.14512_14513del was further corroborated by single-fiber segregation studies.

Keywords: deafness; mitochondrial DNA; muscle biopsy; myopathy; tissue segregation.