Research Article

Mitochondrial tRNALeu(CUN) A12307G variant may not be associated pancreatic cancer

Published: June 10, 2016
Genet. Mol. Res. 15(2): gmr7906 DOI: 10.4238/gmr.15027906

Abstract

Mitochondrial DNA mutations that lead to mitochondrial dysfunction have long been proposed to play important roles in the development of pancreatic cancer. Of these, alterations to mitochondrial tRNA genes constitute the largest group. Most recently, a variation at position 12307 in the gene encoding tRNALeu(CUN) has been reported to be associated with this disease. However, the molecular mechanism underlying this relationship remains poorly understood. To assess this association, we evaluated this variant by evolutionary conservation analysis, measurements of allelic frequencies among control subjects, and use of several bioinformatic tools to estimate potential structural and functional alterations. We found this residue to have a high conservation index; however, the presence of the A12307G variation in control subjects revealed by a literature search suggested it to be common in human populations. Moreover, RNAfold results showed that this variant did not alter the secondary structure of tRNALeu(CUN). Through the application of a pathogenicity scoring system, this variant was determined to be a “neutral polymorphism,” with a score of only 4 points based on current data. Thus, the contribution of the A12307G variant to pancreatic cancer needs to be addressed in further experimental studies.

Mitochondrial DNA mutations that lead to mitochondrial dysfunction have long been proposed to play important roles in the development of pancreatic cancer. Of these, alterations to mitochondrial tRNA genes constitute the largest group. Most recently, a variation at position 12307 in the gene encoding tRNALeu(CUN) has been reported to be associated with this disease. However, the molecular mechanism underlying this relationship remains poorly understood. To assess this association, we evaluated this variant by evolutionary conservation analysis, measurements of allelic frequencies among control subjects, and use of several bioinformatic tools to estimate potential structural and functional alterations. We found this residue to have a high conservation index; however, the presence of the A12307G variation in control subjects revealed by a literature search suggested it to be common in human populations. Moreover, RNAfold results showed that this variant did not alter the secondary structure of tRNALeu(CUN). Through the application of a pathogenicity scoring system, this variant was determined to be a “neutral polymorphism,” with a score of only 4 points based on current data. Thus, the contribution of the A12307G variant to pancreatic cancer needs to be addressed in further experimental studies.