bims-curels Biomed News
on Leigh syndrome
Issue of 2024‒05‒26
six papers selected by
Cure Mito Foundation

  1. Hum Mol Genet. 2024 May 22. 33(R1): R3-R11
      Mutations of mitochondrial (mt)DNA are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in humans, accounting for approximately two thirds of diagnosed mitochondrial disease. However, despite significant advances in technology since the discovery of the first disease-causing mtDNA mutations in 1988, the comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of mtDNA disease remains challenging. This is partly due to the highly variable clinical presentation linked to tissue-specific vulnerability that determines which organs are affected. Organ involvement can vary between different mtDNA mutations, and also between patients carrying the same disease-causing variant. The clinical features frequently overlap with other non-mitochondrial diseases, both rare and common, adding to the diagnostic challenge. Building on previous findings, recent technological advances have cast further light on the mechanisms which underpin the organ vulnerability in mtDNA diseases, but our understanding is far from complete. In this review we explore the origins, current knowledge, and future directions of research in this area.
    Keywords:  heteroplasmy; mitochondria; mtDNA; single cell
  2. J Pers Med. 2024 May 14. pii: 523. [Epub ahead of print]14(5):
      Obtaining a genetic diagnosis of a primary mitochondrial disease (PMD) is often framed as a diagnostic odyssey. Yet, even after receiving a diagnosis, parents of affected children experience ongoing therapeutic and prognostic uncertainty and considerable psychosocial challenges. Semi-structured interviews (N = 24) were conducted with parents of 13 children (aged 2-19 years) with a genetically confirmed PMD. Paternal (N = 11) and maternal (N = 13) perspectives were obtained, and thematic analysis was performed on all interviews. A genetic diagnosis was valuable and empowering for parents, despite eliciting varied emotional responses. While the diagnosis helped focus management decisions, families often felt overwhelmed and unsupported in navigating the healthcare system. Most parents reported a serious impact on their romantic relationship. The sources of social support varied, with a preference for established friendship and family support networks over disease-specific community support groups. Most parents favored prenatal genetic testing in the event of a future pregnancy. This study provides insight into the lived experiences of parents after a genetic diagnosis of PMD in their children. The findings draw awareness to supportive care needs and highlight important gaps that should be addressed to ensure that parents feel supported within a holistic framework of management for PMDs.
    Keywords:  diagnostic odyssey; genetic diagnosis; mitochondrial diseases; parental attitudes; value of a diagnosis
  3. Pediatr Neurol. 2024 Apr 12. pii: S0887-8994(24)00134-6. [Epub ahead of print]156 178-181
      BACKGROUND: Exome sequencing (ES) is a useful tool in diagnosing suspected mitochondrial disease but can miss pathogenic variants for several reasons. Additional testing, such as muscle biopsy or biochemical testing, can be helpful in exome-negative cases.METHODS: We report a patient who presented with repeated episodes of lactic acidosis and failure to thrive.
    RESULTS: ES and mitochondrial sequencing were initially negative but clinical suspicion for mitochondrial disease remained high. After muscle biopsy showed evidence of mitochondrial dysfunction, the ES was reanalyzed and revealed novel variants in AARS2.
    CONCLUSION: This case demonstrates the importance of muscle biopsy and biochemical testing in evaluating patients with a high suspicion of mitochondrial disease, even in the genomics era. Closed-loop communication between molecular genetics laboratories and clinical geneticists is an important step to help establish diagnosis in unsolved cases.
    Keywords:  AARS2; Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase deficiency; Exome-negative; Mitochondrial disease; Muscle biopsy
  4. Hum Mol Genet. 2024 May 22. 33(R1): R61-R79
      Mitochondria are hubs of metabolic activity with a major role in ATP conversion by oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). The mammalian mitochondrial genome encodes 11 mRNAs encoding 13 OXPHOS proteins along with 2 rRNAs and 22 tRNAs, that facilitate their translation on mitoribosomes. Maintaining the internal production of core OXPHOS subunits requires modulation of the mitochondrial capacity to match the cellular requirements and correct insertion of particularly hydrophobic proteins into the inner mitochondrial membrane. The mitochondrial translation system is essential for energy production and defects result in severe, phenotypically diverse diseases, including mitochondrial diseases that typically affect postmitotic tissues with high metabolic demands. Understanding the complex mechanisms that underlie the pathologies of diseases involving impaired mitochondrial translation is key to tailoring specific treatments and effectively targeting the affected organs. Disease mutations have provided a fundamental, yet limited, understanding of mitochondrial protein synthesis, since effective modification of the mitochondrial genome has proven challenging. However, advances in next generation sequencing, cryoelectron microscopy, and multi-omic technologies have revealed unexpected and unusual features of the mitochondrial protein synthesis machinery in the last decade. Genome editing tools have generated unique models that have accelerated our mechanistic understanding of mitochondrial translation and its physiological importance. Here we review the most recent mouse models of disease pathogenesis caused by defects in mitochondrial protein synthesis and discuss their value for preclinical research and therapeutic development.
    Keywords:  animal models; gene expression; mitochondria; protein synthesis
  5. Sci Rep. 2024 05 21. 14(1): 11561
      Mitochondrial diseases are mainly caused by dysfunction of mitochondrial respiratory chain complexes and have a variety of genetic variants or phenotypes. There are only a few approved treatments, and fundamental therapies are yet to be developed. Leigh syndrome (LS) is the most severe type of progressive encephalopathy. We previously reported that apomorphine, an anti- "off" agent for Parkinson's disease, has cell-protective activity in patient-derived skin fibroblasts in addition to strong dopamine agonist effect. We obtained 26 apomorphine analogs, synthesized 20 apomorphine derivatives, and determined their anti-cell death effect, dopamine agonist activity, and effects on the mitochondrial function. We found three novel apomorphine derivatives with an active hydroxy group at position 11 of the aporphine framework, with a high anti-cell death effect without emetic dopamine agonist activity. These synthetic aporphine alkaloids are potent therapeutics for mitochondrial diseases without emetic side effects and have the potential to overcome the low bioavailability of apomorphine. Moreover, they have high anti-ferroptotic activity and therefore have potential as a therapeutic agent for diseases related to ferroptosis.
  6. Genes (Basel). 2024 May 12. pii: 617. [Epub ahead of print]15(5):
      Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) exhibits distinct characteristics distinguishing it from the nuclear genome, necessitating specific analytical methods in genetic studies. This comprehensive review explores the complex role of mtDNA in a variety of genetic studies, including genome-wide, epigenome-wide, and phenome-wide association studies, with a focus on its implications for human traits and diseases. Here, we discuss the structure and gene-encoding properties of mtDNA, along with the influence of environmental factors and epigenetic modifications on its function and variability. Particularly significant are the challenges posed by mtDNA's high mutation rate, heteroplasmy, and copy number variations, and their impact on disease susceptibility and population genetic analyses. The review also highlights recent advances in methodological approaches that enhance our understanding of mtDNA associations, advocating for refined genetic research techniques that accommodate its complexities. By providing a comprehensive overview of the intricacies of mtDNA, this paper underscores the need for an integrated approach to genetic studies that considers the unique properties of mitochondrial genetics. Our findings aim to inform future research and encourage the development of innovative methodologies to better interpret the broad implications of mtDNA in human health and disease.
    Keywords:  copy number variations; epigenetic modifications; genetic analyses; genome-wide association studies; heteroplasmy; mitochondrial DNA; phenome-wide association studies; population genetics