Methods - The complete mitochondrial genomes of 10 GBM cell lines were obtained using next-generation sequencing and combined with another set obtained from 32 GBM tissues. Three-dimensional structural mapping and analysis of all the nonsynonymous mutations identified in complex III and IV proteins was then performed to investigate functional importance.
Results - Over 200 mutations were identified in the mtDNAs, including a significant proportion with very low mutational loads. Twenty-five were nonsynonymous mutations in complex III and IV, 9 of which were predicted to be functional and affect mitochondrial respiratory chain activity. Most of the functional candidates were GBM specific and not found in the general population, and 2 were present in the germ-line. Patient-specific maps reveal that 43% of tumors carry at least one functional candidate.
Conclusions - We reveal that the spectrum of GBM-associated mtDNA mutations is wider than previously thought, as well as novel structural-functional links between specific mtDNA mutations, abnormal mitochondria, and the biology of GBM. These results could provide tangible new prognostic indicators as well as targets with which to guide the development of patient-specific mitochondrially mediated chemotherapeutic approaches.