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J Med Genet. 2003 Dec;40(12):879-84.

A mutation in the gamma actin 1 (ACTG1) gene causes autosomal dominant hearing loss (DFNA20/26).

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  • 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, Netherlands.


Linkage analysis in a multigenerational family with autosomal dominant hearing loss yielded a chromosomal localisation of the underlying genetic defect in the DFNA20/26 locus at 17q25-qter. The 6-cM critical region harboured the gamma-1-actin (ACTG1) gene, which was considered an attractive candidate gene because actins are important structural elements of the inner ear hair cells. In this study, a Thr278Ile mutation was identified in helix 9 of the modelled protein structure. The alteration of residue Thr278 is predicted to have a small but significant effect on the gamma 1 actin structure owing to its close proximity to a methionine residue at position 313 in helix 11. Met313 has no space in the structure to move away. Moreover, the Thr278 residue is highly conserved throughout eukaryotic evolution. Using a known actin structure the mutation could be predicted to impair actin polymerisation. These findings strongly suggest that the Thr278Ile mutation in ACTG1 represents the first disease causing germline mutation in a cytoplasmic actin isoform.

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