Mitochondrial gene therapy improves respiration, biogenesis, and transcription in G11778A Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy and T8993G Leigh's syndrome cells.
ABSTRACT: Many incurable mitochondrial disorders result from mutant mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and impaired respiration. Leigh's syndrome (LS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder of infants, and Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) causes blindness in young adults. Treatment of LHON and LS cells harboring G11778A and T8993G mutant mtDNA, respectively, by >90%, with healthy donor mtDNA complexed with recombinant human mitochondrial transcription factor A (rhTFAM), improved mitochondrial respiration by ?1.2-fold in LHON cells and restored >50% ATP synthase function in LS cells. Mitochondrial replication, transcription, and translation of key respiratory genes and proteins were increased in the short term. Increased NRF1, TFAMB1, and TFAMA expression alluded to the activation of mitochondrial biogenesis as a mechanism for improving mitochondrial respiration. These results represent the development of a therapeutic approach for LHON and LS patients in the near future.
Project description:<h4>Purpose</h4>To investigate the role of mitochondrial haplotypes in the development of Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) associated with the ND4 G11778A mutation in Chinese families.<h4>Design</h4>Eight Han Chinese families with maternally transmitted LHON were studied using clinical, genetic, and molecular evaluations.<h4>Participants</h4>One hundred sixty-seven subjects from 8 Chinese families with a wide age range and severity of visual impairment.<h4>Methods</h4>All subjects underwent the clinical and genetic evaluation, as well as molecular analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA).<h4>Main outcome measures</h4>The ophthalmologic examinations included visual acuity, visual field examination, visual evoked potentials, and fundus photography. Mitochondrial DNA analysis included the polymerase chain reaction amplification of the entire mtDNA and subsequent sequence determination.<h4>Results</h4>Eight families exhibited extremely low penetrance of visual impairment, with the average of 13%. In particular, 14 (12 males and 2 females) of 119 matrilineal relatives in these families exhibited the variable severity and age at onset in visual dysfunction. The average age of onset of vision loss was 17 years. Molecular analysis of mtDNA identified the homoplasimic ND4 G11778A mutation and distinct sets of variants belonging to the Asian haplogroups M8a2, D4g2, B4a1c, B5b, N9a1, D4b2b, C, and M7b1. However, there was an absence of secondary LHON-associated mtDNA mutations in these 8 Chinese families.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The extremely low penetrance of vision loss in these 8 Chinese pedigrees strongly indicates that the G11778A mutation was itself insufficient to produce a clinical phenotype. The absence of secondary LHON mtDNA mutations suggest that these mtDNA haplogroup-specific variants may not play an important role in the phenotypic expression of the G11778A mutation in those Chinese families with very low penentrace of vision loss. However, nuclear backgrounds and environmental factors seem to be modifying factors for the phenotypic manifestation of the G11778A mutation in these Chinese families.
Project description:Early molecular and developmental events impacting many incurable mitochondrial disorders are not fully understood and require generation of relevant patient- and disease-specific stem cell models. In this study, we focus on the ability of a nonviral and integration-free reprogramming method for deriving clinical-grade induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) specific to Leigh's syndrome (LS), a fatal neurodegenerative mitochondrial disorder of infants. The cause of fatality could be due to the presence of high abundance of mutant mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) or decline in respiration levels, thus affecting early molecular and developmental events in energy-intensive tissues. LS patient fibroblasts (designated LS1 in this study), carrying a high percentage of mutant T8993G mtDNA, were reprogrammed using a combined mRNA-miRNA nonviral approach to generate human iPSCs (hiPSCs). The LS1-hiPSCs were evaluated for their self-renewal, embryoid body (EB) formation, and differentiation potential, using immunocytochemistry and gene expression profiling methods. Sanger sequencing and next-generation sequencing approaches were used to detect the mutation and quantify the percentage of mutant mtDNA in the LS1-hiPSCs and differentiated derivatives. Reprogrammed LS-hiPSCs expressed pluripotent stem cell markers including transcription factors OCT4, NANOG, and SOX2 and cell surface markers SSEA4, TRA-1-60, and TRA-1-81 at the RNA and protein level. LS1-hiPSCs also demonstrated the capacity for self-renewal and multilineage differentiation into all three embryonic germ layers. EB analysis demonstrated impaired differentiation potential in cells carrying high percentage of mutant mtDNA. Next-generation sequencing analysis confirmed the presence of high abundance of T8993G mutant mtDNA in the patient fibroblasts and their reprogrammed and differentiated derivatives. These results represent for the first time the derivation and characterization of a stable nonviral hiPSC line reprogrammed from a LS patient fibroblast carrying a high abundance of mutant mtDNA. These outcomes are important steps toward understanding disease origins and developing personalized therapies for patients suffering from mitochondrial diseases.
Project description:We report here the clinical, genetics and molecular characterization of a five-generation Han Chinese family with Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON). Strikingly, this family exhibits very high penetrance and occurrence of optic neuropathy. In particular, 25 (10 males/15 females) of 30 matrilineal relatives exhibited the variable severity, ranging from profound to mild of visual impairment. This penetrance of optic neuropathy in this Chinese family is much higher than those in many families with LHON worldwide. The age-at-onset for visual impairment in matrilineal relatives in this Chinese family varied from 7 to 24years old, with the average of 15 years old. Furthermore, the ratio between affected male and female matrilineal relatives is 1:1.5 in the Chinese family. This observation is in contrast with the typical features in LHON pedigrees that there was predominance of affected males in LHON in many families from different ethnic origins. Molecular analysis of mitochondrial genome identified the known ND4 G11778A mutation and 51 variants, belonging to Asian haplogroup C4a1. The absence of other known secondary LHON-associated and functionally significant mtDNA mutations in this Chinese family suggested that mitochondrial variants may not play an important role in the phenotypic manifestation of the G11778A mutation in this Chinese family. Therefore, nuclear modifier gene(s) may be responsible for very high penetrance and occurrence of optic neuropathy in this Chinese pedigree.
Project description:Mutations in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) encoded subunit 6 of ATPase (ATP6) are associated with variable disease expression, ranging from adult onset neuropathy, ataxia and retinitis pigmentosa (NARP) to fatal childhood maternally inherited Leigh's syndrome (MILS). Phenotypical variations have largely been attributed to mtDNA heteroplasmy. However, there is often a discrepancy between the levels of mutant mtDNA and disease severity. Therefore, the correlation among genetic defect, bioenergetic impairment and clinical outcome in NARP/MILS remains to be elucidated. We investigated the bioenergetics of cybrids from five patients carrying different ATP6 mutations: three harboring the T8993G, one with the T8993C and one with the T9176G mutation. The bioenergetic defects varied dramatically, not only among different ATP6 mutants, but also among lines carrying the same T8993G mutation. Mutants with the most severe ATP synthesis impairment showed defective respiration and disassembly of respiratory chain complexes. This indicates that respiratory chain defects modulate the bioenergetic impairment in NARP/MILS cells. Sequencing of the entire mtDNA from the different mutant cell lines identified variations in structural genes, resulting in amino acid changes that destabilize the respiratory chain. Taken together, these results indicate that the mtDNA background plays an important role in modulating the biochemical defects and clinical outcome in NARP/MILS.
Project description:AIM: To investigate mitochondrial factors associated with Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) through complete sequencing and analysis of the mitochondrial genome of Chinese patients with this disease. METHODS: Two unrelated southern Chinese families with LHON and 10 matched healthy controls were recruited, and their entire mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) was amplified and sequenced with the universal M13 primer. Then DNA sequence analysis and variation identification were perfomed by DNAssist and Chromas 2 software and compared with authoritative databases such as Mitomap. RESULTS: Mutational analysis of mtDNA in these two Chinese pedigrees revealed one common LHON-associated mutation, G11778A (Arg→His), in the MT-ND4 gene. In addition, there were two secondary mutations in Pedigree 1: C3497T (Ala→Val), and C3571T (Leu→Phe) in the MT-ND1 gene, which have not been reported; and two secondary mutations occurred in Pedigree 2: A10398G (Thr→Ala) in the MT-ND3 gene, and T14502C (Ile→Val) in the MT-ND6 gene. Three polymorphisms, A73G, G94A and A263G in the mtDNA control region, were also found. CONCLUSION: Our study confirmed that the known MT-ND4*G11778A mutation is the most significant cause of LHON. The C3497T and C3571T mutations in Pedigree 1 were also both at hot-spots of MT-ND1; they may affect the respiratory chain in coordination with the primary mutation G11778A. In Pedigree 2, the two secondary mutations A10398G of MT-ND3 and T14502C of MT-ND6 may influence mitochondrial respiratory complex I, leading to the mitochondrial respiratory chain dysfunction which results in optic atrophy together with G11778A. Therefore, not only the common primary LHON mutation is responsible for the visual atrophy, but other secondary mtDNA mutations should also be considered when giving genetic counseling.
Project description:PURPOSE:To demonstrate safety and efficacy of allotopic human ND4 for treatment of a Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) mouse model harboring the G11778A mitochondrial mutation. METHODS:We induced LHON in mice by intravitreal injection of mutant (G11778A) human ND4 DNA, responsible for most cases of LHON, that was directed to mitochondria using an AAV2 vector to which we appended a mitochondrial targeting sequence to the VP2 capsid. We then attempted rescue of visual loss using our test article (ScAAV2-P1ND4v2) containing a synthetic nuclear encoded G11778G ND4 gene that was allotopically expressed. Control mice either were uninjected or received AAV2-GFP or AAV2-mCherry. We performed RT-PCR and confocal microscopy at 2 weeks post injection. Pattern electroretinograms (PERGs), spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT), histology, and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) were performed. For toxicology and biodistribution studies, the test article was administered intravitreally to rats and rhesus macaques at different doses. RESULTS:Mutant and wild-type ND4 were efficiently expressed in the mitochondria of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Visual function assessed by serial PERGs and retinal structure by serial SD-OCT showed a significant rescue by the test article. Histology and ultrastructural analysis confirmed that loss of RGCs and demise of axons was prevented by ScAAV2-P1ND4v2. Rat and nonhuman primate biodistribution studies showed that vector spread outside the injected eye into spleen and lymph nodes was minimal. Histopathology of tissues and organs including the eyes was comparable to that of uninfected and saline-injected eyes. CONCLUSIONS:Allotopically expressed wild-type ND4 prevents the phenotype induced by G11778A mitochondrial DNA with a toxicology profile acceptable for testing in a phase I clinical trial.
Project description:We report here the characterization of a four-generation Han Chinese family with Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON). This Chinese family exhibited a variable severity and age-at-onset of visual loss. Notably, the average age-at-onset of vision impairment changed from 26 years (generation III) to 14 years (generation IV), with the average of 18 years in this family. In addition, 30% and 50% of matrilineal relatives in generation III and IV of this family developed visual loss with a variability of severity, ranging from blindness to normal vision. Sequence analysis of the complete mitochondrial DNA in this pedigree revealed the presence of the homoplasmic ND4 G11778A mutation and 33 other variants, belonging to the Asian haplogroup D4. Of other variants, the homoplasmic G11696A mutation in the ND4 gene is of special interest as it was implicated to be associated with LHON in a large Dutch family and five Chinese pedigrees with extremely penetrance of visual loss. In fact, the G11696A mutation caused the substitution of an isoleucine for valine at amino acid position 313, located in a predicted transmembrane region of ND4. These imply that the G11696A mutation may act in synergy with the primary LHON-associated G11778A mutation in this Chinese pedigree.
Project description:We used engineered zinc finger peptides (ZFPs) to bind selectively to predetermined sequences in human mtDNA. Surprisingly, we found that engineered ZFPs cannot be reliably routed to mitochondria by using only conventional mitochondrial targeting sequences. We here show that addition of a nuclear export signal allows zinc finger chimeric enzymes to be imported into human mitochondria. The selective binding of mitochondria-specific ZFPs to mtDNA was exemplified by targeting the T8993G mutation, which causes two mitochondrial diseases, neurogenic muscle weakness, ataxia, and retinitis pigmentosa (NARP) and also maternally inherited Leigh's syndrome. To develop a system that allows the monitoring of site-specific alteration of mtDNA we combined a ZFP with the easily assayed DNA-modifying activity of hDNMT3a methylase. Expression of the mutation-specific chimeric methylase resulted in the selective methylation of cytosines adjacent to the mutation site. This is a proof of principle that it is possible to target and alter mtDNA in a sequence-specific manner by using zinc finger technology.
Project description:IMPORTANCE Establishing the natural history of G11778A Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is important to determine the optimal end points to assess the safety and efficacy of a planned gene therapy trial. OBJECTIVE To use the results of the present natural history study of patients with G11778A LHON to plan a gene therapy clinical trial that will use allotopic expression by delivering a normal nuclear-encoded ND4 gene into the nuclei of retinal ganglion cells via an adeno-associated virus vector injected into the vitreous. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS A prospective observational study initiated in 2008 was conducted in primary and referral institutional practice settings. Participants included 44 individuals with G11778A LHON, recruited between September 2008 and March 2012, who were evaluated every 6 months and returned for 1 or more follow-up visits (6-36 months) as of August 2012. EXPOSURES Complete neuro-ophthalmic examination and main measures. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Visual acuity, automated visual field testing, pattern electroretinogram, and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography. RESULTS Clinical measures were stable during the follow-up period, and visual acuity was as good as or better than the other visual factors used for monitoring patients. Based on a criterion of 15 or more letters from the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study chart, 13 eyes of 8 patients (18%) improved, but 24 months after the onset of symptoms, any further improvements were to no better than 20/100. Acuity recovery occurred in some patients despite continued marked retinal nerve fiber layer thinning indistinguishable from that in patients who did not recover visual acuity. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Spontaneous improvement of visual acuity in patients with G11778A LHON is not common and is partial and limited when it occurs, so improvements in vision with adeno-associated virus-mediated gene therapy of a synthetic wild-type ND4 subunit gene should be possible to detect with a reasonable sample size. Visual acuity appears to be the most suitable primary end point for the planned clinical trial.
Project description:Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is a mitochondrial disease characterized by bilateral vision loss. More than 95% of LHON cases are associated with one of the three main mtDNA mutations: G11778A, T14484C, and G3460A. The other 5% of cases are due to other rare mutations related to the disease. The aim of this study was to identify the prevalence and spectrum of LHON mtDNA mutations, including the haplogroup, in a cohort of Brazilian patients with optic neuropathy and to evaluate the usefulness of iPLEX Gold/matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) technology in detecting LHON mutations.We analyzed a total of 101 patients; 67 had a clinical diagnosis of LHON and 34 had optic neuropathy of unknown etiology. Direct sequencing and iPLEX Gold/MALDI-TOF MS were used to screen for the most common pathogenic point mutations in LHON, together with the rare mutations G3733A, C4171A, T10663C, G14459A, C14482G, A14495G, C14568T, and C14482A.We identified mutations in 36 patients, of whom 83.3% carried the G11778A mutation and 16.7% carried the T14484C mutation. In individuals with mutations, the haplogroups found were L1/L2, L3, C, R, U, D, and H. Rare mutations were not detected in any of the patients analyzed.The frequencies of the main LHON mutations were similar to those previously reported for Latin America. A different frequency was found only for the A3460G mutation. The most frequent haplogroups identified were of African origin. The iPLEX Gold/MALDI-TOF MS technology proved to be highly accurate and efficient for screening mutations and identifying the haplogroups related to LHON. The MassArray platform, combined with other techniques, enabled definitive diagnosis of LHON in 36% (36/101) of the cases studied.