PubMed | Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust, Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital, University College London and NE Thames Regional Genetics Service.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Human molecular genetics | Year: 2015
The mitochondrial DNA mutation m.1555A>G predisposes to hearing loss following aminoglycoside antibiotic exposure in an idiosyncratic dose-independent manner. However, it may also cause maternally inherited hearing loss in the absence of aminoglycoside exposure or any other clinical features (non-syndromic hearing loss). Although m.1555A>G was identified as a cause of deafness more than twenty years ago, the pathogenic mechanism of this mutation of ribosomal RNA remains controversial. Different mechanistic concepts have been proposed. Most recently, evidence from cell lines and animal models suggested that patients with m.1555A>G may have more 12S rRNA N6, N6-dimethyladenosine (m(6) 2A) methylation than controls, so-called hypermethylation. This has been implicated as a pathogenic mechanism of mitochondrial dysfunction but has yet to be validated in patients. 12S m(6) 2A rRNA methylation, by the mitochondrial transcription factor 1 (TFB1M) enzyme, occurs at two successive nucleotides (m.1584A and m.1583A) in close proximity to m.1555A>G. We examined m(6) 2A methylation in 14 patients with m.1555A>G, and controls, and found all detectable 12S rRNA transcripts to be methylated in both groups. Moreover, different RNA samples derived from the same patient (lymphocyte, fibroblast and lymphoblast) revealed that only transformed cells contained some unmethylated 12S rRNA transcripts, with all detectable 12S rRNA transcripts derived from primary samples m(6) 2A-methylated. Our data indicate that TFB1M 12S m(6) 2A rRNA hypermethylation is unlikely to be a pathogenic mechanism and may be an artefact of previous experimental models studied. We propose that RNA methylation studies in experimental models should be validated in primary clinical samples to ensure that they are applicable to the human situation.