The 3-methylglutaconic acidurias: what’s new?
3-Methylglutaconic aciduria type III (3-MGCA type III), caused by recessive mutations in the 2-exon gene OPA3, is characterized by early-onset bilateral optic atrophy, later-onset extrapyramidal dysfunction, and increased urinary excretion of 3-methylglutaconic acid and 3-methylglutaric acid. Here we report the identification of a novel third OPA3 coding exon, the apparent product of a segmental duplication event, resulting in two gene transcripts, OPA3A and OPA3B. OPA3A deficiency (as in optic atrophy type 3) causes up-regulation of OPA3B. OPA3 protein function remains unknown, but it contains a putative mitochondrial leader sequence, mitochondrial sorting signal and a peroxisomal sorting signal. Our green fluorescent protein tagged OPA3 expression studies found its localization to be predominantly mitochondrial. These findings thus place the cellular metabolic defect of 3-MGCA type III in the mitochondrion rather than the peroxisome and implicate loss of OPA3A rather than gain of OPA3B in disease etiology.