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Shouqing Li, Shan Duan, Yueyuan Qin, Sheng Lin, Kaifeng Zheng, Xi Li, Linghua Zhang, Xueying Gu, Keqin Yao, Baojiang Wang; Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy–Specific Heteroplasmic Mutation m.14495A>G Found in a Chinese Family. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2019;8(4):3. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.8.4.3.
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Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)-associated, maternally inherited eye disease. Mutation heteroplasmy level is one of the leading causes to trigger LHON manifestation. In this study, we aimed to identify the causative mutation in a large Han Chinese family with LHON and explore the underlying pathogenic mechanism in this LHON family.
The whole-mtDNA sequence was amplified by long-range PCR. Mutations were subsequently identified by next-generation sequencing (NGS) and validated by Sanger sequencing. The heteroplasmy rates of those family members were determined by digital PCR (dPCR). Mitochondrial haplogroups were assigned based on mtDNA tree build 17.
The m.14495A>G mutation was identified as causative due to its higher heteroplasmy level (>50%) in patients than in their unaffected relatives. All mutation carriers belong to M7b1a1 and are assigned to Asian mtDNA lineage. Interestingly, our result revealed that high mtDNA copy number in carrier might prevent LHON manifestation.
This is the first report of m.14495A>G mutation in Asian individuals with LHON. Our study shows that dPCR technology can provide more reliable results in mutation heteroplasmy assay and determination of the cellular mtDNA content, making it a potentially promising tool for clinical precise diagnosis of LHON. Furthermore, our results also add evidence to the opinion that higher mtDNA content may protect mutation carriers from LHON.
dPCR can be used for the assessment of LHON disease, and a new genetic-based diagnostic strategy has been proposed for LHON patients with the m.14495A>G mutation.
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