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24.09.2019 | Research Article

Detection of novel mitochondrial mutations in cytochrome C oxidase subunit 1 (COX1) in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)

Clinical and Translational Oncology
E. Afkhami, M. M. Heidari, M. Khatami, F. Ghadamyari, S. Dianatpour
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Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) is an Autosomal dominant inherited disorder and a rare form‌ of colorectal cancer (CRC) that is characterized by the development of hundreds to thousands of adenomas in the rectum and colon. Mostly, cancers develop after the advent of the polyps. It appears in both sexes evenly, and the occurrence of the disease is in the second decade of life. Mitochondrial genome mutations have been reported with a variety of Tumors, but the precise role of these mutations in the pathogenicity and tumor progression is not exactly clear. Cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COX1) is the terminal enzyme of the mitochondrial respiratory chain. The present study aims at assessing the occurrence of mtDNA mutations in COX1 gene in FAP patients and attempts to find out the cause and effect relationship between mitochondrial mutations and tumor progression.


In this study, 56 FAP patients were investigated for the presence of the mutations in mitochondrial COX1 coding gene by PCR and sequencing analysis. All sequences that differed from the revised Cambridge Reference Sequence (rCRS) were classified as missense/ nonsense or silent mutations. Functional genomic studies using Bio-informatics tools were performed on the founded mutations to understand the downstream alterations in structure and function of protein.


We identified 38 changes in the COX1 gene in patients with FAP symptoms. Most of them were heteroplasmic changes of missense type (25/38). Tree of the changes (G6145A, C6988A, and T7306G) were nonsense mutations and had not been reported in the literature before. Our results of bioinformatics predictions showed that the identified mutations can affect mitochondrial functions, especially if the conservative domain of the protein is concerned.


Our findings indicate a high frequency of mtDNA mutations in all of the FAP cases compared to matched controls. These data significantly enhance our understanding of how such mutations contribute to cancer pathologies and develop the cancer treatment methods by new diagnostic biomarkers, and new drugs for gene therapy.

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