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To explore clinical, genetic and molecular features of two Chinese Han families with Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON). Ophthalmologic examinations revealed variable severity and age-at-onset of visual loss among probands and other matrilineal relatives of both families. The families exhibited extremely low penetrance of visual impairment. The entire mitochondrial genome of two probands was amplified by PCR in 24 overlapping fragments using sets of oligonucleotide primers. Sequence analysis of complete mitochondrial genome in the pedigrees excluded three common LHON associated mutations G11778A, G3460A and T14484C, but revealed the presence of a known homoplasmic tRNA(Thr) A15951G mutation. It also showed distinct sets of mtDNA polymorphisms belonging to Eastern Asian haplogroup D4b1. The A15951G mutation is located at the extremely conserved nucleotide (conventional position 71) of tRNA(Thr). Thus, this mutation may alter the structure and stability of mitochondrial tRNA(Thr), thereby leading to a failure in the tRNA metabolism and mitochondrial dysfunction, causing visual impairment. The results suggested that the A15951G mutation might be involved in the pathogenesis of Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy in the two families.


Yu Zhang, Juan-juan Zhang, Yan-chun Ji, Ming-lian Zhang, Yi Tong, Fu-xin Zhao, Jia Qu, Xiang-tian Zhou, Min-xin Guan. The mitochondrial tRNA(Thr) A15951G mutation may be associated with Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy in two Chinese families]. Zhonghua yi xue yi chuan xue za zhi = Zhonghua yixue yichuanxue zazhi = Chinese journal of medical genetics. 2011 Oct;28(5):501-6

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PMID: 21983721

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