Mitochondrial variants in MT-CO2 and D-loop instability are involved in MUTYH-associated polyposis

Edoardo Errichiello, Antonella Balsamo, Marianna Cerni, Tiziana Venesio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Abstract: Mitochondrial DNA alterations have been widely reported in different human tumours, including colorectal carcinoma, but their mutational spectrum and pathogenic role in specific subsets of patients with polyposis syndromes have been poorly investigated. We compared the breadth of somatic variants across the mitochondrial genome of MUTYH-associated polyposis (MAP) patients with homogeneous groups of classical/attenuated familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP/AFAP) and sporadic cases. Overall, we screened 121 adenomas and seven adenocarcinomas and their corresponding germinal controls, for mitochondrial genes with a crucial role in oxidative phosphorylation and translation (MT-CO1, MT-CO2, MT-CO3, MT-TD, MT-TS1, MT-ATP6) as well as a hypervariable sequence (HV-II) within the control region displacement loop (D-loop), a marker of hypermutability and clonal expansion. The sequencing analysis revealed the presence of 17 variants, mostly causing non-synonymous changes in conserved amino acid residues, typically distributed in the MT-CO2 gene of MAP patients (P <0.0001), who frequently carried the hot spot m.7763G>A variant. Accordingly, D-loop instability was also significantly associated with variants grouped inside the MT-CO2 gene (P = 0.0061). This is the first report showing a locus-specific distribution of mitochondrial DNA alterations in a subtype of colorectal tumourigenesis. In addition, our findings suggest that MT-CO2 variants, representing early molecular events in MAP tumorigenesis, might be a potential prognostic biomarker for the cancer-risk assessment of patients affected by this syndrome. Key Messages: We compared the frequencies of mtDNA variants in MAP vs. FAP/AFAP/sporadic patients.We found a gene-specific (MT-CO2) distribution of mtDNA variants in MAP cases.Most mtDNA variants caused non-synonymous changes in conserved amino acid residues.D-loop instability was significantly associated with variants grouped inside MT-CO2.MT-CO2 variants might be a potential prognostic biomarker in MAP patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1271-1281
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Molecular Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jul 3 2015



  • Cytochrome c oxidase complex (COX)
  • Displacement loop (D-loop)
  • Mitochondrial DNA variants
  • MUTYH-associated polyposis (MAP)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Drug Discovery
  • Genetics(clinical)

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