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Some ribosomal antibiotics used in clinical practice to fight pathogenic bacteria can provoke serious adverse drug reactions in patients. Sensitivity to the antibiotics is a multifactorial trait but the genetic variation of sensitive individuals to off-target effects of the drugs might be one of the factors contributing to this condition. Thus, the protein synthesis apparatus of mitochondria is similar to that of bacteria because of its endosymbiotic origin and, therefore, mitochondrial ribosomes are frequently unintended off-targets of these antibiotics. Because of the limitations of epidemiologic studies of pharmacogenomics, we constructed 25 transmitochondrial cell lines using platelets from individuals belonging to high-frequency European mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroups and grew them in the absence or presence of commonly used ribosomal antibiotics. Next, we analyzed the mitochondrial synthesis of proteins and the mitochondrial oxygen consumption to ascertain whether some side effects of ribosomal drugs are due to their interaction with particular mtDNA haplogroup-defining polymorphisms. The amount of mitochondrial translation products, the p.MT-CO1/succinate dehydrogenase subunit A ratio and the ratio of respiratory complex IV quantity to citrate synthase (CS)-specific activity were significantly lower, after the treatment with linezolid, in cybrids harboring the highly frequent m.3010A allele. These results suggest that mitochondrial antibiograms should be implemented for at least the most frequent mitochondrial ribosomal RNA (rRNA) polymorphisms and combinations of polymorphisms and the most frequently used ribosomal antibiotics. In this way, we would obtain individualized barcodes for antibiotic therapy, avoid the side effects of the antibiotics and enable appropriate personalized medicine.


David Pacheu-Grau, Aurora Gómez-Durán, Eldris Iglesias, Ester López-Gallardo, Julio Montoya, Eduardo Ruiz-Pesini. Mitochondrial antibiograms in personalized medicine. Human molecular genetics. 2013 Mar 15;22(6):1132-9

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PMID: 23223015

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