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Depletion of mitochondrial DNA in leucocytes harbouring the 3243A→G mtDNA mutation

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Angela Pyle, Professor Robert Taylor, Dr Steve Durham, Dr Andrew Schaefer, Dr David Samuels, Professor Patrick Chinnery


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Background: The 3243A→G MTTL1 mutation is the most common heteroplasmic mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutation associated with disease. Previous studies have shown that the percentage of mutated mtDNA decreases in blood as patients get older, but the mechanisms behind this remain unclear. Objectives and method: To understand the dynamics of the process and the underlying mechanisms, an accurate fluorescent assay was established for 3243A→G heteroplasmy and the amount of mtDNA in blood with real-time polymerase chain reaction was determined, The amount of mutated and wild-type mtDNA was measured at two time points in 11 subjects. Results: The percentage of mutated mtDNA decreases exponentially during life, and peripheral blood leucocytes in patients harbouring 3243A→G are profoundly depleted of mtDNA. Conclusions: A similar decrease in mtDNA has been seen in other mitochondrial disorders, and in 3243A→G cell lines in culture, indicating that depletion of mtDNA may be a common secondary phenomenon in several mitochondrial diseases. Depletion of mtDNA is not always due to mutation of a nuclear gene involved in mtDNA maintenance.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pyle A, Taylor RW, Durham SE, Deschauer M, Schaefer AM, Samuels DC, Chinnery PF

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Medical Genetics

Year: 2007

Volume: 44

Issue: 1

Pages: 69-74

Print publication date: 01/01/2007

ISSN (print): 0022-2593

ISSN (electronic): 1468-6244

Publisher: BMJ Group


DOI: 10.1136/jmg.2006.043109

PubMed id: 16950816


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Funder referenceFunder name
074454Wellcome Trust