Wolfram syndrome is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder transmitted in an autosomal recessive mode. We report two Wolfram syndrome families harboring multiple deletions of mitochondrial DNA. The deletions reached percentages as high as 85-90% in affected tissues such as the central nervous system of one patient, while in other tissues from the same patient and from other members of the family, the percentages of deleted mitochondrial DNA genomes were only 1-10%. Recently, a Wolfram syndrome gene has been linked to markers on 4p16. In both families linkage between the disease locus and 4p16 markers gave a maximum multipoint lod score of 3.79 at theta = 0 (P<0.03) with respect to D4S431. In these families, the syndrome was caused by mutations in this nucleus-encoded gene which deleteriously interacts with the mitochondrial genome. This is the first evidence of the implication of both genomes in a recessive disease.
A Barrientos, V Volpini, J Casademont, D Genís, J M Manzanares, I Ferrer, J Corral, F Cardellach, A Urbano-Márquez, X Estivill, V Nunes