Biallelic pathogenic variants in COX11 are associated with an infantile-onset mitochondrial encephalopathy

Rocio Rius, Neal K. Bennett, Kaustuv Bhattacharya, Lisa G. Riley, Zafer Yüksel, Luke E. Formosa, Alison G. Compton, Russell C. Dale, Mark J. Cowley, Velimir Gayevskiy, Saeed M. Al Tala, Abdulrahman A. Almehery, Michael T. Ryan, David R. Thorburn, Ken Nakamura, John Christodoulou

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Primary mitochondrial diseases are a group of genetically and clinically heterogeneous disorders resulting from oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) defects. COX11 encodes a copper chaperone that participates in the assembly of complex IV and has not been previously linked to human disease. In a previous study, we identified that COX11 knockdown decreased cellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP) derived from respiration, and that ATP levels could be restored with coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplementation. This finding is surprising since COX11 has no known role in CoQ10 biosynthesis. Here, we report a novel gene-disease association by identifying biallelic pathogenic variants in COX11 associated with infantile-onset mitochondrial encephalopathies in two unrelated families using trio genome and exome sequencing. Functional studies showed that mutant COX11 fibroblasts had decreased ATP levels which could be rescued by CoQ10. These results not only suggest that COX11 variants cause defects in energy production but reveal a potential metabolic therapeutic strategy for patients with COX11 variants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1970-1978
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Mutation
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • coenzyme Q
  • COX11
  • mitochondrial disorders

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