Disease-associated mitochondrial mutations and the evolution of primate mitogenomes.

PloS one

PubMedID: 28510580

Tavares WC, Seuánez HN. Disease-associated mitochondrial mutations and the evolution of primate mitogenomes. PLoS ONE. 2017;12(5):e0177403.
Several human diseases have been associated with mutations in mitochondrial genes comprising a set of confirmed and reported mutations according to the MITOMAP database. An analysis of complete mitogenomes across 139 primate species showed that most confirmed disease-associated mutations occurred in aligned codon positions and gene regions under strong purifying selection resulting in a strong evolutionary conservation. Only two confirmed variants (7. 1%), coding for the same amino acids accounting for severe human diseases, were identified without apparent pathogenicity in non-human primates, like the closely related Bornean orangutan. Conversely, reported disease-associated mutations were not especially concentrated in conserved codon positions, and a large fraction of them occurred in highly variable ones. Additionally, 88 (45. 8%) of reported mutations showed similar variants in several non-human primates and some of them have been present in extinct species of the genus Homo. Considering that recurrent mutations leading to persistent variants throughout the evolutionary diversification of primates are less likely to be severely damaging to fitness, we suggest that these 88 mutations are less likely to be pathogenic. Conversely, 69 (35. 9%) of reported disease-associated mutations occurred in extremely conserved aligned codon positions which makes them more likely to damage the primate mitochondrial physiology.