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J Biol Chem. 2010 Apr 30;285(18):13742-7. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.098400. Epub 2010 Mar 10.

Mitochondrial and nuclear genomic responses to loss of LRPPRC expression.

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Center for Human Genetic Research, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


Rapid advances in genotyping and sequencing technology have dramatically accelerated the discovery of genes underlying human disease. Elucidating the function of such genes and understanding their role in pathogenesis, however, remain challenging. Here, we introduce a genomic strategy to characterize such genes functionally, and we apply it to LRPPRC, a poorly studied gene that is mutated in Leigh syndrome, French-Canadian type (LSFC). We utilize RNA interference to engineer an allelic series of cellular models in which LRPPRC has been stably silenced to different levels of knockdown efficiency. We then combine genome-wide expression profiling with gene set enrichment analysis to identify cellular responses that correlate with the loss of LRPPRC. Using this strategy, we discovered a specific role for LRPPRC in the expression of all mitochondrial DNA-encoded mRNAs, but not the rRNAs, providing mechanistic insights into the enzymatic defects observed in the disease. Our analysis shows that nuclear genes encoding mitochondrial proteins are not collectively affected by the loss of LRPPRC. We do observe altered expression of genes related to hexose metabolism, prostaglandin synthesis, and glycosphingolipid biology that may either play an adaptive role in cell survival or contribute to pathogenesis. The combination of genetic perturbation, genomic profiling, and pathway analysis represents a generic strategy for understanding disease pathogenesis.

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