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Investigation of tRNA and ATPase 6/8 gene mutations in Iranian ataxia telangiectasia patients.

INTRODUCTION: Ataxia telangiectasia (AT) is a rare human neurodegenerative autosomal recessive multisystem disease. AT is the result of mutations in the AT-mutated (ATM) gene. ATM protein is required for radiation-induced apoptosis and acts before mitochondrial collapse. The tRNA genes are considered one of the hot spots for mutations causing mitochondrial disorders. Due to the important role of ATM in apoptosis and its effect on the cell cycle it might be possible that it has a central role in mtDNA mutations. On the other hand, the tRNA(Lys/Leu) gene and also ATPase6 and ATPase8 genes are important for many mitochondrial diseases and many causative mutations have been reported from these genes.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: In the present research, we performed mutation screening for these genes in 20 patients who were diagnosed with ataxia telangiectasia by a PCR sequencing method.

RESULTS: The results showed a significant level of mtDNA variations in AT patients. Among 20 patients in this study, 12 patients (60%) were detected with point mutations, among which 8 mutations (40%) belonged to the MT-ATP6 gene. There was probably a second effect of mtDNA mutations in AT disease and mtDNA plays a main role in establishment of AT.

CONCLUSIONS: MtDNA mutations might be responsible for the decline of mitochondrial function in AT patients. Mitochondrial investigation can help to understand the mechanism of damage in AT disease.

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