The mitochondrial inner membrane possesses distinct subdomains including cristae, which are lamellar structures invaginated into the mitochondrial matrix and contain the respiratory complexes. Generation of inner membrane domains requires the complex interplay between the respiratory complexes, mitochondrial lipids and the recently identified mitochondrial contact site and cristae organizing system (MICOS) complex. Proper organization of the mitochondrial inner membrane has recently been shown to be important for respiratory function in yeast. Here we aimed at a molecular diagnosis in a brother and sister from a consanguineous family who presented with a neurodegenerative disorder accompanied by hyperlactatemia, 3-methylglutaconic aciduria, disturbed hepatocellular function with abnormal cristae morphology in liver and cerebellar and vermis atrophy, which suggest mitochondrial dysfunction. Using homozygosity mapping and exome sequencing the patients were found to be homozygous for the p.(Gly15Glufs∗75) variant in the QIL1/MIC13 (C19orf70) gene. QIL1/MIC13 is a constituent of MICOS, a six subunit complex that helps to form and/or stabilize cristae junctions and determine the placement, distribution and number of cristae within mitochondria. In patient fibroblasts both MICOS subunits QIL1/MIC13 and MIC10 were absent whereas MIC60 was present in a comparable abundance to that of the control. We conclude that QIL1/MIC13 deficiency in human, is associated with disassembly of the MICOS complex, with the associated aberration of cristae morphology and mitochondrial respiratory dysfunction. 3-Methylglutaconic aciduria is associated with variants in genes encoding mitochondrial inner membrane organizing determinants, including TAZ, DNAJC19, SERAC1 and QIL1/MIC13.
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