[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Succinyl-coenzyme A synthase is a mitochondrial matrix enzyme that catalyzes the reversible synthesis of succinate and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) from succinyl-coenzyme A and adenosine diphosphate (ADP) in the tricarboxylic acid cycle. This enzyme is made up of α and β subunits encoded by SUCLG1 and SUCLA2, respectively. We present a child with severe muscular hypotonia, dystonia, failure to thrive, sensorineural deafness, and dysmorphism. Metabolic investigations disclosed hyperlactacidemia, moderate urinary excretion of methylmalonic acid, and elevated levels of C4-dicarboxylic carnitine in blood. We identified a novel homozygous p.M329V in SUCLA2. In cultured cells, the p.M329V resulted in a reduced amount of the SUCLA2 protein, impaired production of mitochondrial ATP, and enhanced production of reactive oxygen species, which was partially reduced by using 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide ribonucleotide in the culture medium. Expanding the array of SUCLA2 mutations, we suggested that reactive oxygen species scavengers are likely to impact on disease prognosis.
Journal of child neurology 03/2014; · 1.59 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Disorders of oxidative phosphorylation affects 1/5000 individuals and present heterogeneous involvement of tissues highly dependent upon ATP production.
Here we present the case of a 48-year-old woman carrying a homozygous mutation (p.A899T) in mitochondrial polymerase gamma (POLG) and manifesting with a complex neurological phenotype including Dopamine-agonist responsive Parkinsonism.
This case report is further evidence that mitochondrial dysfunction might play a role in Parkinson's Disease pathogenesis and helps in identification of apparent mutation-specific clinical characteristics. Mutations in POLG should be looked for in cases of Parkinsonism, especially when multisystem neurological involvement is found.
BMC Medical Genetics 10/2013; 14(1):105. · 2.45 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Complex III of the mitochondrial respiratory chain (CIII) catalyzes transfer of electrons from reduced coenzyme Q to cytochrome c. Low biochemical activity of CIII is not a frequent etiology in disorders of oxidative metabolism and is genetically heterogeneous. Recently, mutations in the human tetratricopeptide 19 gene (TTC19) have been involved in the etiology of CIII deficiency through impaired assembly of the holocomplex. We investigated a consanguineous Portuguese family where four siblings had reduced enzymatic activity of CIII in muscle and harbored a novel homozygous mutation in TTC19. The clinical phenotype in the four sibs was consistent with severe olivo-ponto-cerebellar atrophy, although their age at onset differed slightly. Interestingly, three patients also presented progressive psychosis. The mutation resulted in almost complete absence of TTC19 protein, defective assembly of CIII in muscle, and enhanced production of reactive oxygen species in cultured skin fibroblasts. Our findings add to the array of mutations in TTC19, corroborate the notion of genotype/phenotype variability in mitochondrial encephalomyopathies even within a single family, and indicate that psychiatric manifestations are a further presentation of low CIII.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammalian complex V (F1F0-ATP synthase or ATPase) uses the proton gradient to generate ATP during oxidative phosphorylation and requires several helper proteins, including TMEM70, to form the holoenzyme in a stepwise process in which nuclear DNA is combined with mitochondrial DNA-encoded subunits. We report the clinical and molecular findings in three patients presenting lactic acidosis, 3-methylglutaconic aciduria, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. All three showed an isolated defect of fully assembled ATP synthase in association with a "common" (c.317-2A > G) and a new (c.628A > C/p.T210P) variant in TMEM70. Interestingly, one of the patients also showed nitric oxide-responsive pulmonary arterial hypertension, a finding never before associated with TMEM70 deficiency. In addition to widening the clinical and mutational spectrum of defective ATP synthase, our study also suggests that mutant TMEM70 associates in high molecular weight complexes (470-550 kDa) when expressed in Hela cells and exerts a direct action in ATP synthase biogenesis and assembly, mediating the incorporation of F1 moieties.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recessive mutations in the mitochondrial arginyl-transfer RNA synthetase (RARS2) gene have been associated with early onset encephalopathy with signs of oxidative phosphorylation defects classified as pontocerebellar hypoplasia 6. We describe clinical, neuroimaging and molecular features on five patients from three unrelated families who displayed mutations in RARS2. All patients rapidly developed a neonatal or early-infantile epileptic encephalopathy with intractable seizures. The long-term follow-up revealed a virtual absence of psychomotor development, progressive microcephaly, and feeding difficulties. Mitochondrial respiratory chain enzymes in muscle and fibroblasts were normal in two. Blood and CSF lactate was abnormally elevated in all five patients at early stages while appearing only occasionally abnormal with the progression of the disease. Cerebellar vermis hypoplasia with normal aspect of the cerebral and cerebellar hemispheres appeared within the first months of life at brain MRI. In three patients follow-up neuroimaging revealed a progressive pontocerebellar and cerebral cortical atrophy. Molecular investigations of RARS2 disclosed the c.25A>G/p.I9V and the c.1586+3A>T in family A, the c.734G>A/p.R245Q and the c.1406G>A/p.R469H in family B, and the c.721T>A/p.W241R and c.35A>G/p.Q12R in family C. Functional complementation studies in Saccharomyces cerevisiae showed that mutation MSR1-R531H (equivalent to human p.R469H) abolished respiration whereas the MSR1-R306Q strain (corresponding to p.R245Q) displayed a reduced growth on non-fermentable YPG medium. Although mutations functionally disrupted yeast we found a relatively well preserved arginine aminoacylation of mitochondrial tRNA. Clinical and neuroimaging findings are important clues to raise suspicion and to reach diagnostic accuracy for RARS2 mutations considering that biochemical abnormalities may be absent in muscle biopsy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inherited disorders characterized by motor neuron loss and muscle weakness are genetically heterogeneous. The recent identification of mutations in the gene encoding transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 (TRPV4) in distal spinal muscular atrophy (dSMA) prompted us to screen for TRPV4 mutations in a small group of children with compatible phenotype. In a girl with dSMA and vocal cord paralysis, we detected a new variant (p.P97R) localized in the cytosolic N-terminus of the TRPV4 protein, upstream of the ankyrin-repeat domain, where the great majority of disease-associated mutations reside. In another child with congenital dSMA, in this case associated with bone abnormalities, we detected a previously reported mutation (p.R232C). Functional analysis of the novel p.P97R mutation in a heterologous system demonstrated a loss-of-function mechanism. Protein localization studies in muscle, skin, and cultured skin fibroblasts from both patients showed normal protein expression. No TRPV4 mutations were detected in four children with dSMA without bone or vocal cord involvement. Adding to the clinical and molecular heterogeneity of TRPV4-associated diseases, our results suggest that molecular testing of the TRPV4 gene is warranted in cases of congenital dSMA with bone abnormalities and vocal cord paralysis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Δ(1)-Pyrroline-5-carboxylate synthetase (P5CS) catalyzes the first two steps of ornithine/proline biosynthesis. P5CS deficiency has been reported in three families, with patients presenting with cutis/joint laxity, cataracts, and neurodevelopmental delay. Only one family exhibited metabolic changes consistent with P5CS deficiency (low proline/ornithine/citrulline/arginine; fasting hyperammonemia). Here we report a new P5CS-deficient patient presenting the complete clinical/metabolic phenotype and carrying p.G93R and p.T299I substitutions in the γ-glutamyl kinase (γGK) component of P5CS. The effects of these substitutions are (1) tested in mutagenesis/functional studies with E.coli γGK, (2) rationalized by structural modelling, and (3) reflected in decreased P5CS protein in patient fibroblasts (shown by immunofluorescence). Using optical/electron microscopy on skin biopsy, we show collagen/elastin fiber alterations that may contribute to connective tissue laxity and are compatible with our angio-MRI finding of kinky brain vessels in the patient. MR spectroscopy revealed decreased brain creatine, which normalized after sustained arginine supplementation, with improvement of neurodevelopmental and metabolic parameters, suggesting a pathogenic role of brain creatine decrease and the value of arginine therapy. Morphological and functional studies of fibroblast mitochondria show that P5CS deficiency is not associated with the mitochondrial alterations observed in Δ(1)-pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase deficiency (another proline biosynthesis defect presenting cutis laxa and neurological alterations).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The role of phospholipids in normal assembly and organization of the membrane proteins has been well documented. Cardiolipin, a unique tetra-acyl phospholipid localized in the inner mitochondrial membrane, is implicated in the stability of many inner-membrane protein complexes. Loss of cardiolipin content, alterations in its acyl chain composition and/or cardiolipin peroxidation have been associated with dysfunction in multiple tissues in a variety of pathological conditions. The aim of this study was to analyze the phospholipid composition of the mitochondrial membrane in the four most frequent mutations in the ATP6 gene: L156R, L217R, L156P and L217P but, more importantly, to investigate the possible changes in the cardiolipin profile. Mitochondrial membranes from fibroblasts with mutations at codon 217 of the ATP6 gene, showed a different cardiolipin content compared to controls. Conversely, results similar to controls were obtained for mutations at codon 156. These findings may be attributed to differences in the biosynthesis and remodeling of cardiolipin at the level of the inner mitochondrial transmembrane related to some mutations of the ATP6 gene.
Journal of Bioenergetics 12/2011; 43(6):683-90. · 2.71 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present clinical, neuroimaging, and molecular data on the identification of a new homozygous c.1783A>G (p.Thr595Ala) mutation in NDUFS1 in two inbred siblings with isolated complex I deficiency associated to a progressive cavitating leukoencephalopathy, a clinical and neuroradiological entity originally related to unknown defects of the mitochondrial energy metabolism. In both sibs, the muscle biopsy showed severe reduction of complex I enzyme activity, which was not obvious in fibroblasts. We also observed complex I dysfunction in a Neurospora crassa model of the disease, obtained by insertional mutagenesis, and in patient fibroblasts grown in galactose. Altogether, these results indicate that the NDUFS1 mutation is responsible for the disease and complex I deficiency. Clinical presentation of complex I defect is heterogeneous and includes an ample array of clinical phenotypes. Expanding the number of allelic variants in NDUFS1, our findings also contribute to a better understanding on the function of complex I.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) depletion is a profound reduction of mtDNA copy number. The mtDNA depletion syndromes (MDS) are a heterogeneous group of severe mitochondrial disorders of infancy and childhood. There are three main clinical presentations of MDS: myopathic, hepatocerebral and encephalomyopathic. Almost 60% of our MDS patients have been genetically characterised, and a strict association has been found between the encephalomyopathic MDS, SUCLA2 mutations and mild methylmalonic aciduria. The content of this manuscript refers to the Joint Conference (Ospedale Bambino Gesù/Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital ) held in May 9–11, 2007.
Paediatrics and Child Health 10/2009; · 1.55 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial ATP synthase plays a central role in cell function by synthesising most of the ATP in human tissues. In different cells, active regulation of mitochondrial ATP synthase in response to cellular energy demand has been demonstrated, as well as its alteration under several pathological conditions affecting oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). Traditionally, detection of OXPHOS defects is based on the spectrophotometric measurement of respiratory chain complex activities in muscle biopsies. Considering the broad clinical spectrum of mitochondrial disorders, and the difficulty in arriving at a single diagnostic method, in this study we propose measurement of ATP synthesis in mitochondria from skin fibroblasts as an effective screening tool. In the light of our results this assessment emerges as a useful marker of impaired energy production in primary OXPHOS disorders of childhood and as a tool with the potential to drive further molecular genetic studies.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 04/2009; 383(1):58-62. · 2.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The smallest rotary motor of living cells, F0F1-ATP synthase, couples proton flow-generated by the OXPHOS system-from the intermembrane space back to the matrix with the conversion of ADP to ATP. While all mutations affecting the multisubunit complexes of the OXPHOS system probably impact on the cell's output of ATP, only mutations in complex V can be considered to affect this output directly. So far, most of the F0F1-ATP synthase variations have been detected in the mitochondrial ATPase6 gene. In this study, the four most frequent mutations in the ATPase6 gene, namely L156R, L217R, L156P, and L217P, are studied for the first time together, both in primary cells and in cybrid clones. Arginine ("R") mutations were associated with a much more severe phenotype than Proline ("P") mutations, in terms of both biochemical activity and growth capacity. Also, a threshold effect in both "R" mutations appeared at 50% mutation load. Different mechanisms seemed to emerge for the two "R" mutations: the F1 seemed loosely bound to the membrane in the L156R mutant, whereas the L217R mutant induced low activity of complex V, possibly the result of a reduced rate of proton flow through the A6 channel.
Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 02/2009; 106(5):878-86. · 3.37 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Patients with peroxisomal biogenesis disorders (PBDs) have an abnormal profile of circulating acylcarnitines (i.e. elevated C16:0-DC-, C18:0-DC-, C24:0-, C26:0-carnitine). We developed an ESI-MS/MS method for quantification of urine acylcarnitines and tested its reliability for the diagnosis of PBDs.
Urine from 7 patients with PBDs (5 Zellweger syndrome, 2 infantile Refsum disease), from 2 patients with D-bifunctional protein (D-BP) deficiency, and from 130 healthy controls were analysed by ESI-MS/MS, using a multiple reactions monitoring (MRM) method, and quantified with labelled internal standards. Acylcarnitine levels between groups were analyzed by the STATA statistics data analysis and compared by the non parametric Mann-Whitney test.
In PBDs, the urinary excretion of long-chain dicarboxylylcarnitines (C14:0-DC-, C16:0-DC-, and C18:0-DC-carnitine), and of very long-chain monocarboxylylcarnitines (C22:0-, C24:0-, C26:0-carnitine) were significantly elevated compared to controls (p<0.0001). Interestingly, among PBDs the most severe abnormalities of acylcarnitine profile were observed in patients with Zellweger syndrome. One patient with D-BP showed similar abnormalities to PBDs, while in the other only C16:0-DC-carnitine was markedly elevated.
This study shows that MRM ESI-MS/MS acylcarnitine analysis unequivocally discriminates patients with PBDs and D-BP deficiency from controls, representing a reliable and sensitive method for the diagnosis that requires a short-time analysis with high sample through-put.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial disorders encompass any medical specialty and affect patients at any age. Likewise, the spectrum of clinical and genetic signatures of these disorders is ample, making a precise diagnosis difficult. We will report some of the major clinical phenotypes observed in infancy, their underlining molecular features, and will propose an approach to reach a more complete diagnosis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One pedigree with four patients has been recently described with mitochondrial DNA depletion and mutation in SUCLA2 gene leading to succinyl-CoA synthase deficiency. Patients had a Leigh-like encephalomyopathy and deafness but besides the presence of lactic acidosis, the profile of urine organic acid was not reported. We have studied 14 patients with mild 'unlabelled' methylmalonic aciduria (MMA) from 11 families. Eight of the families are from the Faroe Islands, having a common ancestor, and three are from southern Italy. Since the reaction catalysed by succinyl-CoA synthase in the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle represents a distal step of the methylmalonic acid pathway, we investigated the SUCLA2 gene as a candidate gene in our patients. Genetic analysis of the gene in the 14 patients confirmed the defect in all patients and led to the identification of three novel mutations (p.Gly118Arg; p.Arg284Cys; c.534 + 1G --> A). The defect could be convincingly shown at the protein level and our data also confirm the previously described mitochondrial DNA depletion. Defects in SUCLA2 can be found at the metabolite level and are defined by mildly elevated methylmalonic acid and C4-dicarboxylic carnitine concentrations in body fluids in association with variable lactic acidosis. Clinically the diagnosis should be considered in patients with early/neonatal onset encephalomyopathy, dystonia, deafness and Leigh-like MRI abnormalities mainly affecting the putamen and the caudate nuclei. The frequency of the mutated allele in the Faroese population amounted to 2%, corresponding with an estimated homozygote frequency of 1 : 2500. Our data extend knowledge on the genetic defects causing MMA. Our patients present with an early infantile Leigh-like encephalomyopathy with deafness, and later on a progressive dystonia. Mild MMA, lactic acidosis and specific abnormalities in the carnitine ester profile are the biochemical hallmarks of the disease. In view of the frequency of the mutated allele on the Faroe Islands, measures become feasible to prevent the occurrence of the disease on the islands. We confirm and extend the findings on this inborn error of metabolism in the TCA cycle that must be carefully investigated by accurate metabolite analyses.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Determination of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) heteroplasmy for the diagnosis of patients with mitochondrial disorders is a difficult task due to the coexistence of wild-type and mutant genomes. We have developed a new method for genotyping and quantification of heteroplasmic point mutations in mtDNA based on the SNaPshot technology. We compared the data of this method with the widely used "last hot-cycle" PCR-RFLP method by studying 15 patients carrying mtDNA mutations. We showed that SNaPshot is an accurate, reproducible, and sensitive technique for the determination of heteroplasmic mtDNA mutations in different tissues from patients, and it is a promising system to be used in prenatal and postnatal diagnosis of mtDNA-associated disorders.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 05/2006; 342(2):387-93. · 2.28 Impact Factor