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Hum Mol Genet. 2000 Dec 12;9(20):3065-73.

Functional characterization of missense mutations at codon 838 in retinal guanylate cyclase correlates with disease severity in patients with autosomal dominant cone-rod dystrophy.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics, Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London, Bath Street, London EC1V 9EL, UK.


Three different mutations in codon 838 of GUCY2D, the gene for retinal guanylate cyclase 1, have been linked to autosomal dominant cone-rod dystrophy at the CORD6 locus. To examine the relationship between enzyme activity and disease severity, the three disease-causing substitutions (R838C, R838H and R838S) and four artificial mutations (R838A, R838E, R838L and R838K) were generated. Assay of GCAP1-stimulated cyclase activity in vitro shows that, compared with wild-type, R838E, R838L and R838K possess only low activity, whereas R838A, R838C, R838H and R838S have activity equal or superior to wild-type at low Ca(2+) concentrations. These four latter mutants showed a higher apparent affinity for GCAP1 than did wild-type. The Ca(2+) sensitivity of the GCAP1 activation was also altered with marked residual activity at high Ca(2+), the effect increasing: wild-type < R838C < R838H << R838A < R838S. Within the photoreceptor, this would result in a failure to inactivate cyclase activity at high physiological Ca(2+ )concentrations. Amongst the three disease-associated mutations, the effect correlates directly with disease severity. The wild-type and R838H mutant displayed a difference in pH sensitivity, with the mutant showing a higher specific activity with pH > 6.0. Site 838 is in the dimerization domain that forms a coiled-coil in the active protein. A computer-aided structure prediction of this region indicates that R838 in the wild-type breaks the structure at four helical turns, and there is an increasing tendency for the structure to continue for further turns in the order R838C < R838H,S,K << R838E < R838A < R838L.

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