Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are suitable for studying mitochondrial diseases caused by mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations. Here, we generated iPSCs from a patient with mitochondrial myopathy, encephalopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes (MELAS) with the m.13513G>A mutation. The patient's dermal fibroblasts were reprogrammed, and we established two iPSC clones with and without mutant mtDNA. Furthermore, we tried to decrease mutant mtDNA level in iPSCs using transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs). We originally engineered platinum TALENs, which were transported into mitochondria, recognized the mtDNA sequence including the m.13513 position, and preferentially cleaved G13513A mutant mtDNA (G13513A-mpTALEN). The m.13513G>A heteroplasmy level in MELAS-iPSCs was decreased in the short term by transduction of G13513A-mpTALEN. Our data demonstrate that this mtDNA-targeted nuclease would be a powerful tool for changing the heteroplasmy level in heteroplasmic iPSCs, which could contribute to elucidation of the pathological mechanisms of mitochondrial diseases caused by mtDNA mutations.
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