Progressive external ophthalmoplegia is typically associated with single or multiple mtDNA deletions but occasionally mtDNA single nucleotide variants within mitochondrial transfer RNAs (mt-tRNAs) are identified. We report a 34-year-old female sporadic patient with progressive external ophthalmoplegia accompanied by exercise intolerance but neither fixed weakness nor multisystemic involvement. Histopathologically, abundant COX-deficient fibres were present in muscle with immunofluorescence analysis confirming the loss of mitochondrial complex I and IV proteins. Molecular genetic analysis identified a rare heteroplasmic m.15990C>T mt-tRNAPro variant reported previously in a single patient with childhood-onset myopathy. The variant in our patient was restricted to muscle. Single muscle fibre analysis identified higher heteroplasmy load in COX-deficient fibres than COX-normal fibres, confirming segregation of high heteroplasmic load with a biochemical defect. Our case highlights the phenotypic variability typically observed with pathogenic mt-tRNA mutations, whilst the identification of a second case with the m.15990C>T mutation not only confirms pathogenicity but shows that de novo mt-tRNA point mutations can arise in multiple, unrelated patients.
Keywords: Mitochondria; Pathogenicity; Progressive external ophthalmoplegia; de novo mutation; tRNA Pro.
Copyright © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.