The transcript levels of nuclear and mitochondrial genes involved in oxidative phosphorylation were quantified in human myoblasts and myotubes cultured from biopsies of patients harboring either heteroplasmic point mutation or deletion of mitochondrial DNA. The transcript patterns were determined by two different methodologies, competitive reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction and classical Northern blot analysis, both referred to the mitochondrial to nuclear DNA ratio. In myoblasts from the patients with MELAS (myopathy, encephalopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes) and KSS (Kearns-Sayre) syndromes, both methodologies revealed an increase of mtDNA transcript levels. A higher level of the nuclear ATP synthase beta transcript was observed in the MELAS patient cells and could be the consequence of a feedback effect of the mitochondrial DNA mutation. Moreover, the nuclear and mitochondrial transcript accumulation is more pronounced after myoblast differentiation. Thus, the OXPHOS expression is specifically altered in patients with mitochondrial diseases. The competitive RT-PCR, a rapid and sensitive technique, could be applied to investigation of mitochondrial myopathies.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.