Fatal Perinatal Mitochondrial Cardiac Failure Caused by Recurrent De Novo Duplications in the ATAD3 Locus

Ann E. Frazier, Alison G. Compton, Yoshihito Kishita, Daniella H. Hock, AnneMarie E. Welch, Sumudu S.C. Amarasekera, Rocio Rius, Luke E. Formosa, Atsuko Imai-Okazaki, David Francis, Min Wang, Nicole J. Lake, Simone Tregoning, Jafar S. Jabbari, Alexis Lucattini, Kazuhiro R. Nitta, Akira Ohtake, Kei Murayama, David J. Amor, George McGillivrayFlora Y. Wong, Marjo S. van der Knaap, R. Jeroen Vermeulen, Esko J. Wiltshire, Janice M. Fletcher, Barry Lewis, Gareth Baynam, Carolyn Ellaway, Shanti Balasubramaniam, Kaustuv Bhattacharya, Mary-Louise Freckmann, Susan Arbuckle, Michael Rodriguez, Ryan J. Taft, Simon Sadedin, Mark J. Cowley, André E. Minoche, Sarah E. Calvo, Vamsi K. Mootha, Michael T. Ryan, Yasushi Okazaki, David A. Stroud, Cas Simons, John Christodoulou, David R. Thorburn

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In about half of all patients with a suspected monogenic disease, genomic investigations fail to identify the diagnosis. A contributing factor is the difficulty with repetitive regions of the genome, such as those generated by segmental duplications. The ATAD3 locus is one such region in which recessive deletions and dominant duplications have recently been reported to cause lethal perinatal mitochondrial diseases characterized by pontocerebellar hypoplasia or cardiomyopathy, respectively. Methods: Whole-exome, whole-genome, and long-read DNA sequencing techniques combined with studies of RNA and quantitative proteomics were used to investigate 17 subjects from 16 unrelated families with suspected mitochondrial disease. Findings: We report 6 different de novo duplications in the ATAD3 gene locus causing a distinctive presentation, including lethal perinatal cardiomyopathy, persistent hyperlactacidemia, and frequently, corneal clouding or cataracts and encephalopathy. The recurrent 68-kb ATAD3 duplications are identifiable from genome and exome sequencing but usually missed by microarrays. The ATAD3 duplications result in the formation of identical chimeric ATAD3A/ATAD3C proteins, altered ATAD3 complexes, and a striking reduction in mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation complex I and its activity in heart tissue. Conclusions: ATAD3 duplications appear to act in a dominant-negative manner and the de novo inheritance infers a low recurrence risk for families, unlike most pediatric mitochondrial diseases. More than 350 genes underlie mitochondrial diseases. In our experience, the ATAD3 locus is now one of the five most common causes of nuclear-encoded pediatric mitochondrial disease, but the repetitive nature of the locus means ATAD3 diagnoses may be frequently missed by current genomic strategies. Funding: Australian NHMRC, US Department of Defense, US National Institutes of Health, Japanese AMED and JSPS agencies, Australian Genomics Health Alliance, and Australian Mito Foundation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-73.e10
Number of pages35
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2021


  • ATAD3
  • cardiomyopathy
  • de novo duplication
  • genomics
  • mitochondrial disease
  • perinatal death
  • quantitative proteomics
  • segmental duplication
  • Translation to Patients

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