Journal Article

Nuclear background determines biochemical phenotype in the deafness-associated mitochondrial 12S rRNA mutation

Min-Xin Guan, Nathan Fischel-Ghodsian and Giuseppe Attardi

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 10, issue 6, pages 573-580
Published in print March 2001 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online March 2001 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI:
Nuclear background determines biochemical phenotype in the deafness-associated mitochondrial 12S rRNA mutation

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The pathogenetic mechanism of the human mitochondrial 12S rRNA gene mutation at position 1555, associated with non-syndromic deafness and aminoglycoside-induced deafness, has been investigated in 33 transformants obtained by transferring mitochondria from lymphoblastoid cell lines into human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)-less (ρ°206) cells. In this nearly constant nuclear background, 15 transformants derived from five symptomatic individuals from a large Arab-Israeli family, carrying this mutation in homoplasmic form, exhibited significant decreases compared with nine control transformants in the rate of growth in a medium containing galactose instead of glucose, as well as in the rates of mitochondrial protein synthesis and of substrate-dependent respiration. Most significantly, these decreases were very similar to those observed in nine transformants derived from three asymptomatic members of the family. This result in transmitochondrial cybrids is in contrast to the differences in the same parameters previously demonstrated between the original lymphoblastoid cell lines derived from the symptomatic and asymptomatic members of the Arab-Israeli family. In addition, the intragroup variability in biochemical dysfunction among the lymphoblastoid cell lines from different symptomatic or asymptomatic or control individuals was significantly reduced in the derived mitochondrial transformants carrying the same nuclear background. These observations provide strong genetic and biochemical evidence in support of the idea that the nuclear background plays a determinant role in the phenotypic manifestation of the non-syndromic deafness associated with the A1555G mutation.

Journal Article.  6311 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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