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Effect of 'binary mitochondrial heteroplasmy' on respiration and ATP synthesis: implications for mitochondrial diseases

, : Effect of 'binary mitochondrial heteroplasmy' on respiration and ATP synthesis: implications for mitochondrial diseases. Biochemical Journal 357(Pt 3): 835-842

Respiratory-chain-complex subunits in mitochondria are encoded by nuclear or mitochondrial DNA. This property might have profound implications for the phenotypic expression of mutations affecting oxidative phosphorylation complexes. The aim of this paper is to study the importance of the origin of the mutation (nuclear or mitochondrial) on the expression of mitochondrial defects. We have therefore developed theoretical models illustrating three mechanisms of nuclear or mitochondrial DNA mutation giving rise to a deficiency in the respiratory-chain complex: (1) a partial deficiency, homogeneously distributed in all of the mitochondria; (2) a complete deficiency, only affecting some of the mitochondria ('binary mitochondrial heteroplasmy'); and (3) a partial deficiency, affecting only some of the mitochondria. We show that mutations affecting oxidative phosphorylation complexes will be expressed in different ways depending on their origins. Although the expression of nuclear or mitochondrial mutations is evidence of a biochemical threshold, we demonstrate that the threshold value depends on the origin and distribution of the mutation (homogeneous or not) and also on the energy demand of the tissue. This last prediction has been confirmed in an experimental model using hexokinase for the simulation of the energy demand and a variation in mitochondrial concentration. We also emphasize the possible role of 'binary mitochondrial heteroplasmy' in the expression of mitochondrial DNA mutations and thus the importance of the origin of the deficit (mutation) for the diagnosis or therapy of mitochondrial diseases.


PMID: 11463355

DOI: 10.1042/0264-6021:3570835

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