Mitochondrial disorders are monogenic disorders characterized by a defect in oxidative phosphorylation and caused by pathogenic variants in one of over 340 different genes. The implementation of whole exome sequencing has led to a revolution in their diagnosis, duplicated the number of associated disease genes, and significantly increased the diagnosed fraction. However, the genetic etiology of a substantial fraction of patients exhibiting mitochondrial disorders remains unknown, highlighting limitations in variant detection and interpretation, which calls for improved computational and DNA sequencing methods, as well as the addition of OMICS tools. More intriguingly, this also suggests that some pathogenic variants lie outside of the protein-coding genes and that the mechanisms beyond the Mendelian inheritance and the mtDNA are of relevance. This review covers the current status of the genetic basis of mitochondrial diseases, discusses current challenges and perspectives, and explores the contribution of factors beyond the protein-coding regions and monogenic inheritance in the expansion of the genetic spectrum of disease.
GrantsHorizon2020 through the ERA PerMed project PerMiM Horizon2020 through the E-Rare Project GENOMIT European Network for Mitochondrial Disease German BMBF German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)