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Eur J Hum Genet. 2001 Apr;9(4):311-5.

The mitochondrial DNA mutation T12297C affects a highly conserved nucleotide of tRNA(Leu(CUN)) and is associated with dilated cardiomyopathy.

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Molecular Diagnostic and Research Transplantation Laboratories, IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia, Italy.


Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations have been causally linked with cardiomyopathies, both dilated (DCM) and hypertrophic. We identified the T12297C mutation in the mtDNA-tRNA(Leu(CUN)) of a 36-year-old male patient diagnosed with DCM. The mutation was heteroplasmic, with high amount (88%) of mutant DNA in the myocardium, and was absent in normal (n = 120) and disease (n = 150) controls. It affects a highly conserved nucleotide (adjacent to the anticodon triplet) that allows the phospho-ribose backbone to turn and form the loop. The potential pathological role of T12297C mutation is further supported by its recent identification in another unrelated Italian family with DCM associated with endocardial fibroelastosis. In the variable loop of the same tRNA, our patient also carried the A12308G transition that is debated as pathological mutation or neutral polymorphism in progressive external ophthalmoplegia: the two defects could exert a synergistic effect on the tRNA structure and function. The endomyocardial biopsy study showed abnormal ring-like mitochondria and occasional cytochrome c oxydase negative myocytes. Overall, the heteroplasmy, the highly conserved position of the mutated nucleotide, the absence of the mutation in large series of diseased and normal controls, and the cardiac mitochondrial changes support a causative link of the mutation with the disease.

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