High-resolution genomic analysis of human mitochondrial RNA sequence variation

Mutations in the mitochondrial genome are associated with multiple diseases and biological processes; however, little is known about the extent of sequence variation in the mitochondrial transcriptome. By ultra-deeply sequencing mitochondrial RNA (>6000×) from the whole blood of ~1000 individuals from the CARTaGENE project, researchers from the Université de Montreal identified remarkable levels of sequence variation within and across individuals, as well as sites that show consistent patterns of posttranscriptional modification. Using a genome-wide association study, they find that posttranscriptional modification of functionally important sites in mitochondrial transfer RNAs (tRNAs) is under strong genetic control, largely driven by a missense mutation in MRPP3 that explains ~22% of the variance. These results reveal a major nuclear genetic determinant of posttranscriptional modification in mitochondria and suggest that tRNA posttranscriptional modification may affect cellular energy production.


Hodgkinson A, Idaghdour Y, Gbeha E, Grenier JC, Hip-Ki E, Bruat V, Goulet JP, de Malliard T, Awadalla P. (2014) High-resolution genomic analysis of human mitochondrial RNA sequence variation. Science 344(6182), 413-5. [abstract]