Inherited kidney diseases are the fifth most common cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Mitochondrial dysfunction plays a vital role in the progression of inherited kidney diseases, while mitochondrial-transfer RNA (mt-tRNA) variants and their pathogenic contributions to kidney disease remain largely unclear. In this study, we identified the pathogenic mt-tRNAPhe 616T>C mutation in 3 families and documented that m.616T>C showed a high pathogenic threshold, with both heteroplasmy and homoplasmy leading to isolated chronic kidney disease and hyperuricemia without hematuria, proteinuria, or renal cyst formation. Moreover, 1 proband with homoplamic m.616T>C presented ESRD as a child. No symptoms of nervous system evolvement were observed in these families. Lymphoblast cells bearing m.616T>C exhibited swollen mitochondria, underwent active mitophagy, and showed respiratory deficiency, leading to reduced mitochondrial ATP production, diminished membrane potential, and overproduction of mitochondrial ROS. Pathogenic m.616T>C abolished a highly conserved base pair (A31-U39) in the anticodon stem-loop which altered the structure of mt-tRNAPhe, as confirmed by a decreased melting temperature and slower electrophoretic mobility of the mutant tRNA. Furthermore, the unstable structure of mt-tRNAPhe contributed to a shortage of steady-state mt-tRNAPhe and enhanced aminoacylation efficiency, which resulted in impaired mitochondrial RNA translation and a significant decrease in mtDNA–encoded polypeptides. Collectively, these findings provide potentially new insights into the pathogenesis underlying inherited kidney disease caused by mitochondrial variants.
Chengxian Xu, Lingxiao Tong, Jia Rao, Qing Ye, Yuxia Chen, Yingying Zhang, Jie Xu, Xiaoting Mao, Feilong Meng, Huijun Shen, Zhihong Lu, Xiaohui Cang, Haidong Fu, Shugang Wang, Weiyue Gu, En-Yin Lai, Min-Xin Guan, Pingping Jiang, Jianhua Mao