Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has been suggested to drive immune system activation, but the induction of interferon signaling by mtDNA has not been demonstrated in a Mendelian mitochondrial disease. We initially ascertained two patients, one with a purely neurological phenotype and one with features suggestive of systemic sclerosis in a syndromic context, and found them both to demonstrate enhanced interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) expression in blood. We determined each to harbor a previously described de novo dominant-negative heterozygous mutation in ATAD3A, encoding ATPase family AAA domain–containing protein 3A (ATAD3A). We identified five further patients with mutations in ATAD3A and recorded up-regulated ISG expression and interferon α protein in four of them. Knockdown of ATAD3A in THP-1 cells resulted in increased interferon signaling, mediated by cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS) and stimulator of interferon genes (STING). Enhanced interferon signaling was abrogated in THP-1 cells and patient fibroblasts depleted of mtDNA. Thus, mutations in the mitochondrial membrane protein ATAD3A define a novel type I interferonopathy.

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