A recurrent mitochondrial p.Trp22Arg NDUFB3 variant causes a distinctive facial appearance, short stature and a mild biochemical and clinical phenotype

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Abstract

Background

Isolated Complex I deficiency is the most common paediatric mitochondrial disease presentation, associated with poor prognosis and high mortality. Complex I comprises 44 structural subunits with at least 10 ancillary proteins; mutations in 29 of these have so far been associated with mitochondrial disease but there are limited genotype-phenotype correlations to guide clinicians to the correct genetic diagnosis.

Methods

Patients were analysed by whole-exome sequencing, targeted capture or candidate gene sequencing. Clinical phenotyping of affected individuals was performed.

Results

We identified a cohort of 10 patients from 8 families (7 families are of unrelated Irish ancestry) all of whom have short stature (<9th centile) and similar facial features including a prominent forehead, smooth philtrum and deep-set eyes associated with a recurrent homozygous c.64T>C, p.Trp22Arg NDUFB3 variant. Two sibs presented with primary short stature without obvious metabolic dysfunction. Analysis of skeletal muscle from three patients confirmed a defect in Complex I assembly.

Conclusions

Our report highlights that the long-term prognosis related to the p.Trp22Arg NDUFB3 mutation can be good, even for some patients presenting in acute metabolic crisis with evidence of an isolated Complex I deficiency in muscle. Recognition of the distinctive facial features—particularly when associated with markers of mitochondrial dysfunction and/or Irish ancestry—should suggest screening for the p.Trp22Arg NDUFB3 mutation to establish a genetic diagnosis, circumventing the requirement of muscle biopsy to direct genetic investigations.

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