Human TRMU encoding the mitochondrial 5-methylaminomethyl-2-thiouridylate-methyltransferase is a putative nuclear modifier gene for the phenotypic expression of the deafness-associated 12S rRNA mutations.
ABSTRACT Nuclear modifier genes have been proposed to modulate the phenotypic manifestation of human mitochondrial 12S rRNA A1491G mutation associated with deafness in many families world-wide. Here we identified and characterized the putative nuclear modifier gene TRMU encoding a highly conserved mitochondrial protein related to tRNA modification. A 1937bp TRMU cDNA has been isolated and the genomic organization of TRMU has been elucidated. The human TRMU gene containing 11 exons encodes a 421 residue protein with a strong homology to the TRMU-like proteins of bacteria and other homologs. TRMU is ubiquitously expressed in various tissues, but abundantly in tissues with high metabolic rates including heart, liver, kidney, and brain. Immunofluorescence analysis of human 143B cells expressing TRMU-GFP fusion protein demonstrated that the human Trmu localizes and functions in mitochondrion. Furthermore, we show that in families with the deafness-associated 12S rRNA A1491G mutation there is highly suggestive linkage and linkage disequilibrium between microsatellite markers adjacent to TRMU and the presence of deafness. These observations suggest that human TRMU may modulate the phenotypic manifestation of the deafness-associated mitochondrial 12S rRNA mutations.
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ABSTRACT: Lack of penetrance and variability of expression are common findings in nonsyndromic hearing loss with autosomal dominant mode of inheritance, but are also seen with recessive inheritance. Now we know that genotype cannot necessarily predict phenotype due to the complexity of the genome, the proteome interacting with the transcriptome, and the dynamically coupled systems that are involved. The contribution of genetic background to phenotypic diversity reflects the additive and interactive (epistasis) effects of multiple genes. Because, individual genes do not act alone but rather in concert with many other genes, it is not surprising that, modifier genes are common source of phenotypic variation in human populations. They can affect the phenotypic outcome of a given genotype by interacting in the same or in a parallel biological pathway as the disease gene. These modifier genes modulate penetrance, dominance, pleiotropy or expressivity in individuals with Mendelian traits and can also be exerted by influencing the severity, the penetrance, the age of onset and the progression of a disease. In this review, we focus on modifier genes that specifically affect hearing loss phenotypes in humans as well as those described in mice. We also include examples of digenic inheritance of deafness, because additive or interactive effects can also result from interaction between two mutant genes.Current Genomics 06/2010; 11(4):269-78. · 2.41 Impact Factor