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1.  Clinical, biochemical, and genetic spectrum of seven patients with NFU1 deficiency 
Frontiers in Genetics  2015;6:123.
Disorders of the mitochondrial energy metabolism are clinically and genetically heterogeneous. An increasingly recognized subgroup is caused by defective mitochondrial iron–sulfur (Fe–S) cluster biosynthesis, with defects in 13 genes being linked to human disease to date. Mutations in three of them, NFU1, BOLA3, and IBA57, affect the assembly of mitochondrial [4Fe–4S] proteins leading to an impairment of diverse mitochondrial metabolic pathways and ATP production. Patients with defects in these three genes present with lactic acidosis, hyperglycinemia, and reduced activities of respiratory chain complexes I and II, the four lipoic acid-dependent 2-oxoacid dehydrogenases and the glycine cleavage system (GCS). To date, five different NFU1 pathogenic variants have been reported in 15 patients from 12 families. We report on seven new patients from five families carrying compound heterozygous or homozygous pathogenic NFU1 mutations identified by candidate gene screening and exome sequencing. Six out of eight different disease alleles were novel and functional studies were performed to support the pathogenicity of five of them. Characteristic clinical features included fatal infantile encephalopathy and pulmonary hypertension leading to death within the first 6 months of life in six out of seven patients. Laboratory investigations revealed combined defects of pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (five out of five) and respiratory chain complexes I and II+III (four out of five) in skeletal muscle and/or cultured skin fibroblasts as well as increased lactate (five out of six) and glycine concentration (seven out of seven). Our study contributes to a better definition of the phenotypic spectrum associated with NFU1 mutations and to the diagnostic workup of future patients.
PMCID: PMC4394698  PMID: 25918518
NFU1; iron–sulfur cluster; lipoic acid; mitochondrial respiratory chain; pulmonary hypertension
2.  Spectrum of combined respiratory chain defects 
Inherited disorders of mitochondrial energy metabolism form a large and heterogeneous group of metabolic diseases. More than 250 gene defects have been reported to date and this number continues to grow. Mitochondrial diseases can be grouped into (1) disorders of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) subunits and their assembly factors, (2) defects of mitochondrial DNA, RNA and protein synthesis, (3) defects in the substrate-generating upstream reactions of OXPHOS, (4) defects in relevant cofactors and (5) defects in mitochondrial homeostasis. Deficiency of more than one respiratory chain enzyme is a common finding. Combined defects are found in 49 % of the known disease-causing genes of mitochondrial energy metabolism and in 57 % of patients with OXPHOS defects identified in our diagnostic centre. Combined defects of complexes I, III, IV and V are typically due to deficiency of mitochondrial DNA replication, RNA metabolism or translation. Defects in cofactors can result in combined defects of various combinations, and defects of mitochondrial homeostasis can result in a generalised decrease of all OXPHOS enzymes. Noteworthy, identification of combined defects can be complicated by different degrees of severity of each affected enzyme. Furthermore, even defects of single respiratory chain enzymes can result in combined defects due to aberrant formation of respiratory chain supercomplexes. Combined OXPHOS defects have a great variety of clinical manifestations in terms of onset, course severity and tissue involvement. They can present as classical encephalomyopathy but also with hepatopathy, nephropathy, haematologic findings and Perrault syndrome in a subset of disorders.
PMCID: PMC4493854  PMID: 25778941
4.  Individuals with mutations in XPNPEP3, which encodes a mitochondrial protein, develop a nephronophthisis-like nephropathy  
The autosomal recessive kidney disease nephronophthisis (NPHP) constitutes the most frequent genetic cause of terminal renal failure in the first 3 decades of life. Ten causative genes (NPHP1–NPHP9 and NPHP11), whose products localize to the primary cilia-centrosome complex, support the unifying concept that cystic kidney diseases are “ciliopathies”. Using genome-wide homozygosity mapping, we report here what we believe to be a new locus (NPHP-like 1 [NPHPL1]) for an NPHP-like nephropathy. In 2 families with an NPHP-like phenotype, we detected homozygous frameshift and splice-site mutations, respectively, in the X-prolyl aminopeptidase 3 (XPNPEP3) gene. In contrast to all known NPHP proteins, XPNPEP3 localizes to mitochondria of renal cells. However, in vivo analyses also revealed a likely cilia-related function; suppression of zebrafish xpnpep3 phenocopied the developmental phenotypes of ciliopathy morphants, and this effect was rescued by human XPNPEP3 that was devoid of a mitochondrial localization signal. Consistent with a role for XPNPEP3 in ciliary function, several ciliary cystogenic proteins were found to be XPNPEP3 substrates, for which resistance to N-terminal proline cleavage resulted in attenuated protein function in vivo in zebrafish. Our data highlight an emerging link between mitochondria and ciliary dysfunction, and suggest that further understanding the enzymatic activity and substrates of XPNPEP3 will illuminate novel cystogenic pathways.
PMCID: PMC2827951  PMID: 20179356

Results 1-4 (4)