Objectives: To develop a protocol capable of identifying deletions in mitochondrial DNA and use it to identify the breakpoints of a mtDNA deletion in a patient with chronic progressive external ophthalmoplegia (CPEO).
Design and methods: Deletions in mtDNA were identified by a combination of long range PCR and Southern blotting. The precise breakpoints were determined by automated DNA sequencing.
Results: A series of DNA samples from patients with suspected mitochondrial disease was subjected to a protocol, which combines long range PCR and Southern blotting. We found a unique deletion in a patient with CPEO and we identified the precise location of this deletion through DNA sequencing.
Conclusions: Long range PCR has the advantages of speed, minimal samples requirements, and sensitivity. Southern blotting is better able to evaluate heteroplasmy and detect duplications. We suggest a protocol that enables us to identify precisely the breakpoints in a unique mutation of mtDNA in a patient with CPEO.