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June 2011

Novel POLG Splice Site Mutation and Optic Atrophy

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Neurology (Drs Milone and Liewluck) and Ophthalmology (Dr Leavitt), Mayo Clinic, Rochester Minnesota; and Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Texas (Drs Wang and Wong and Mr Chen).

Arch Neurol. 2011;68(6):806-811. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2011.124

Objective  To investigate the molecular etiology of 2 unrelated patients with a multisystem mitochondrial disorder accompanied by optic atrophy in one of them.

Design  Clinical examination and neurophysiological, radiological, morphological, and molecular analyses.

Setting  Tertiary care neuromuscular clinic and molecular genetics laboratory.

Patients  A 65-year-old man (patient 1) with dyschromatopsia and vision loss since childhood developed progressive external ophthalmoplegia, ptosis, and myopathy in the seventh decade of life and was found to have optic atrophy. A 63-year-old man (patient 2) with a similar phenotype, without visual symptoms, experienced also hearing loss and parkinsonism.

Main Outcome Measures  Description of the clinical and molecular findings.

Results  A muscle biopsy specimen showed ragged-red, ragged-blue, and cytochrome c oxidase–negative fibers in both patients. Because optic atrophy in patient 1 suggested an autosomal dominant OPA1-related disorder, the OPA1 gene was first sequenced, the results of which did not detect any mutations. Southern blot and polymerase chain reaction analyses of muscle mitochondrial DNA revealed multiple deletions. Sequencing of POLG detected a novel variant, c.3104 + 3A>T, in both patients. Patient 1 was compound heterozygous for a known p.F749S mutation; patient 2 had p.G848S as the second mutation. Analysis of POLG complementary DNA showed that c.3104 + 3A>T results in skipping of exon 18.

Conclusion  Early-onset dyschromatopsia and optic atrophy can occur not only in OPA1-related but also in POLG-related disorders with significant impact on genetic counseling.