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Molecular and biochemical characterisation of a novel mutation in POLG associated with Alpers syndrome

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Author(s): Schaller André | Hahn Dagmar | Jackson Christopher | Kern Ilse | Chardot Christophe | Belli Dominique | Gallati Sabina | Nuoffer Jean-Marc

Journal: BMC Neurology
ISSN 1471-2377

Volume: 11;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 4;
Date: 2011;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background DNA polymerase γ (POLG) is the only known mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) polymerase. It mediates mtDNA replication and base excision repair. Mutations in the POLG gene lead to reduction of functional mtDNA (mtDNA depletion and/or deletions) and are therefore predicted to result in defective oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). Many mutations map to the polymerase and exonuclease domains of the enzyme and produce a broad clinical spectrum. The most frequent mutation p.A467T is localised in the linker region between these domains. In compound heterozygote patients the p.A467T mutation has been described to be associated amongst others with fatal childhood encephalopathy. These patients have a poorer survival rate compared to homozygotes. Methods mtDNA content in various tissues (fibroblasts, muscle and liver) was quantified using quantitative PCR (qPCR). OXPHOS activities in the same tissues were assessed using spectrophotometric methods and catalytic stain of BN-PAGE. Results We characterise a novel splice site mutation in POLG found in trans with the p.A467T mutation in a 3.5 years old boy with valproic acid induced acute liver failure (Alpers-Huttenlocher syndrome). These mutations result in a tissue specific depletion of the mtDNA which correlates with the OXPHOS-activities. Conclusions mtDNA depletion can be expressed in a high tissue-specific manner and confirms the need to analyse primary tissue. Furthermore, POLG analysis optimises clinical management in the early stages of disease and reinforces the need for its evaluation before starting valproic acid treatment.

Tango Jona
Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona

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