Using exome sequencing, we identify SERAC1 mutations as the cause of MEGDEL syndrome, a recessive disorder of dystonia and deafness with Leigh-like syndrome, impaired oxidative phosphorylation and 3-methylglutaconic aciduria. We localized SERAC1 at the interface between the mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum in the mitochondria-associated membrane fraction that is essential for phospholipid exchange. A phospholipid analysis in patient fibroblasts showed elevated concentrations of phosphatidylglycerol-34:1 (where the species nomenclature denotes the number of carbon atoms in the two acyl chains:number of double bonds in the two acyl groups) and decreased concentrations of phosphatidylglycerol-36:1 species, resulting in an altered cardiolipin subspecies composition. We also detected low concentrations of bis(monoacyl-glycerol)-phosphate, leading to the accumulation of free cholesterol, as shown by abnormal filipin staining. Complementation of patient fibroblasts with wild-type human SERAC1 by lentiviral infection led to a decrease and partial normalization of the mean ratio of phosphatidylglycerol-34: 1 to phosphatidylglycerol-36:1. Our data identify SERAC1 as a key player in the phosphatidylglycerol remodeling that is essential for both mitochondrial function and intracellular cholesterol trafficking.
ASJC Scopus subject areas