Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 309–313 | Cite as

Altering the balance between healthy and mutated mitochondrial DNA

  • Paul M. Smith
  • Robert N. Lightowlers
Mitochondrial Medicine


Pathogenic mutations of the mitochondrial genome are frequently found to co-exist with wild-type mtDNA molecules, a state known as heteroplasmy. In most disease cases, the mutation is recessive with manifestation of a clinical phenotype occurring when the proportion of mutated mtDNA exceeds a high threshold. The concept of increasing the ratio of healthy to mutated mtDNA as a means to correcting the biochemical defect has received much attention. A number of strategies are highlighted in this article, including manipulation of the mitochondrial genome by antigenomic drugs or restriction endonucleases, zinc finger peptide-targeted nucleases and exercise-induced gene shifting. The feasibility of these approaches has been demonstrated in a number of models, however more work is necessary before use in human patients.


Satellite Cell Triphenyl Phosphonium Leigh Disease Pearson Syndrome ScaI Expression 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Adenosine 5′-triphosphate


Leber hereditary optic neuropathy


Myoclonic epilepsy with ragged red fibres


Mitochondrial DNA


Neurogenic muscle weakness ataxia and retinitis


Oxidative phosphorylation


Peptide nucleic acids


Zinc finger peptides


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Copyright information

© SSIEM and Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mitochondrial Research Group, Institute of Ageing and HealthMedical SchoolNewcastle upon TyneUK

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