Selective elimination of mitochondrial mutations in the germline by genome editing

Pradeep Reddy, Alejandro Ocampo, Keiichiro Suzuki, Jinping Luo, Sandra R. Bacman, Sion L. Williams, Atsushi Sugawara, Daiji Okamura, Yuji Tsunekawa, Jun Wu, David Lam, Xiong Xiong, Nuria Montserrat, Concepcion Rodriguez Esteban, Guang Hui Liu, Ignacio Sancho-Martinez, Dolors Manau, Salva Civico, Francesc Cardellach, Maria Del Mar O'CallaghanJaime Campistol, Huimin Zhao, Josep M. Campistol, Carlos T. Moraes, Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

234 Scopus citations


Mitochondrial diseases include a group of maternally inherited genetic disorders caused by mutations in mtDNA. In most of these patients, mutated mtDNA coexists with wild-type mtDNA, a situation known as mtDNA heteroplasmy. Here, we report on a strategy toward preventing germline transmission of mitochondrial diseases by inducing mtDNA heteroplasmy shift through the selective elimination of mutated mtDNA. As a proof of concept, we took advantage of NZB/BALB heteroplasmic mice, which contain two mtDNA haplotypes, BALB and NZB, and selectively prevented their germline transmission using either mitochondria-targeted restriction endonucleases or TALENs. In addition, we successfully reduced human mutated mtDNA levels responsible for Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHOND), and neurogenic muscle weakness, ataxia, and retinitis pigmentosa (NARP), in mammalian oocytes using mitochondria-targeted TALEN (mito-TALENs). Our approaches represent a potential therapeutic avenue for preventing the transgenerational transmission of human mitochondrial diseases caused by mutations in mtDNA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-469
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 23 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Inc.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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