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Further evidence for genetic heterogeneity of autosomal dominant disorders with accumulation of multiple deletions of mitochondrial DNA
  1. * Division of Neurology, University Hospital of Antwerp (UZA), Antwerpen, Belgium
  2. Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), Born-Bunge Foundation (BBS), University of Antwerp (UIA), Antwerpen, Belgium
  3. Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, Born-Bunge Foundation (BBS), University of Antwerp (UIA), Department of Biochemistry, Antwerpen, Belgium
  4. § Laboratory of Neuropathology, Born-Bunge Foundation (BBS), University of Antwerp (UIA), Department of Medicine, Antwerpen, Belgium
  1. Dr Van Goethem, Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, Neurogenetics Group, University of Antwerp (UIA), Department of Biochemistry, Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610 Antwerpen, Belgium,vgoethge{at}

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Editor—Disorders of oxidative phosphorylation are highly heterogeneous from both a clinical and a genetic point of view. The nuclear as well as the mitochondrial genomes contain genes that are necessary for respiratory chain function. Consequently, different modes of inheritance are encountered in disorders of oxidative phosphorylation.

Single large scale deletions of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) usually occur in sporadic cases.1 However, multiple deletions of mtDNA also occur in autosomal dominant disorders.2 These deletions are generated de novo as somatic mutations in each affected subject. The nuclear gene defects predisposing to secondary mtDNA deletions in these patients remain unknown.

The disorder discovered by Zeviani et al 2 was later found in several families and was called autosomal dominant progressive external ophthalmoplegia (ADPEO),3 as ptosis and external ophthalmoplegia are the major clinical findings.4-7 More generalised weakness of the skeletal muscles and sudden unexpected death are also common clinical features.4-7 Additional features vary among different families.4 6-8

Linkage analysis provided direct evidence for genetic heterogeneity …

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