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Burgstaller J.P.,Biotechnology in Animal Production | Burgstaller J.P.,University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna | Johnston I.G.,Imperial College London | Poulton J.,University of Oxford
Molecular Human Reproduction | Year: 2014

Mitochondrial diseases are potentially severe, incurable diseases resulting from dysfunctional mitochondria. Several important mitochondrial diseases are caused by mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), the genetic material contained within mitochondria, which is maternally inherited. Classical and modern therapeutic approaches exist to address the inheritance ofmtDNAdisease, but are potentially complicated by the fact that cellular mtDNA populations evolve according to poorly-understood dynamics during development and organismal lifetimes. We review these therapeutic approaches and models of mtDNA dynamics during development, and discuss the implications of recent results from these models for modern mtDNA therapies. We particularly highlight mtDNA segregation-differences in proliferative rates between different mtDNA haplotypes-as a potential and underexplored issue in such therapies. However, straightforward strategies exist to combat this and other potential therapeutic problems. In particular, we describe haplotype matching as an approach with the power to potentially ameliorate any expected issues from mtDNA incompatibility. © The Author 2014. Source


Johnston I.G.,Imperial College London | Burgstaller J.P.,Biotechnology in Animal Production | Burgstaller J.P.,University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna | Havlicek V.,University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna | And 6 more authors.
eLife | Year: 2015

Dangerous damage to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) can be ameliorated during mammalian development through a highly debated mechanism called the mtDNA bottleneck. Uncertainty surrounding this process limits our ability to address inherited mtDNA diseases. We produce a new, physically motivated, generalisable theoretical model for mtDNA populations during development, allowing the first statistical comparison of proposed bottleneck mechanisms. Using approximate Bayesian computation and mouse data, we find most statistical support for a combination of binomial partitioning of mtDNAs at cell divisions and random mtDNA turnover, meaning that the debated exact magnitude of mtDNA copy number depletion is flexible. New experimental measurements from a wild-derived mtDNA pairing in mice confirm the theoretical predictions of this model. We analytically solve a mathematical description of this mechanism, computing probabilities of mtDNA disease onset, efficacy of clinical sampling strategies, and effects of potential dynamic interventions, thus developing a quantitative and experimentally-supported stochastic theory of the bottleneck. © Johnston et al. Source


Burgstaller J.P.,Biotechnology in Animal Production | Burgstaller J.P.,University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna | Johnston I.,Imperial College London | Jones N.,Imperial College London | And 17 more authors.
Cell Reports | Year: 2014

The dynamics by which mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) evolves within organisms are still poorly understood, despite the fact that inheritance and proliferation of mutated mtDNA cause fatal and incurable diseases. When two mtDNA haplotypes are present in a cell, it is usually assumed that segregation (the proliferation of one haplotype over another) is negligible. We challenge this assumption by showing that segregation depends on the genetic distance between haplotypes. We provide evidence by creating four mouse models containing mtDNA haplotype pairs of varying diversity. We find tissue-specific segregation in all models over a wide range of tissues. Key findings are segregation in postmitotic tissues (important for disease models) and segregation covering all developmental stages from prenatal to old age. We identify four dynamic regimes of mtDNA segregation. Our findings suggest potential complications for therapies in human populations: we propose "haplotype matching" as an approach to avoid these issues. © 2014 The Authors. Source


Stadler J.,Biotechnology in Animal Production | Stadler J.,University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna | Eder J.,Health Science University | Eder J.,Karl Landsteiner Institute of Dermatological Research | And 13 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Cell-free circulating tumor DNA in the plasma of cancer patients has become a common point of interest as indicator of therapy options and treatment response in clinical cancer research. Especially patient- and tumor-specific single nucleotide variants that accurately distinguish tumor DNA from wild type DNA are promising targets. The reliable detection and quantification of these single-base DNA variants is technically challenging. Currently, a variety of techniques is applied, with no apparent "gold standard". Here we present a novel qPCR protocol that meets the conditions of extreme sensitivity and specificity that are required for detection and quantification of tumor DNA. By consecutive application of two polymerases, one of them designed for extreme base-specificity, the method reaches unprecedented sensitivity and specificity. Three qPCR assays were tested with spike-in experiments, specific for point mutations BRAF V600E, PTENT167A and NRAS Q61L of melanoma cell lines. It was possible to detect down to one copy of tumor DNA per reaction (Poisson distribution), at a background of up to 200 000 wild type DNAs. To prove its clinical applicability, the method was successfully tested on a small cohort of BRAF V600E positive melanoma patients. © 2015 Stadler et al.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Source

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