Analysis of disease-associated ND4 mutations: how do we know which mutation is pathogenic?
ABSTRACT It is not uncommon to identify more than one mtDNA replacement mutations in the specimens from patients. However, we usually do not know if the identified mtDNA mutation is pathogenic or not. Even functional assays are available to use, we would not know which mutation(s) is to be tested. To provide a rapid method for initial evaluation for the pathogenicity of the replacement mutation, we compared three evolutional analyses: primate conservation index (PCI), mammalian conservation index (MCI), and conservation index across a wide spectrum of species (CI). After analyzing 35 so-called diseases-associated replacement mutations of ND4, we found 8 pathogenic mutations, 15 nonpathogenic mutations, and 12 mutations of undetermined significance. The MCI classification appears to be the best one among the three systems. This study demonstrates that evolutional analysis can serve as a rapid evaluation for the pathogenicity of mtDNA replacement mutations.