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Vis Neurosci. 2006 May-Aug;23(3-4):395-402.

Compound heterozygous CNGA3 mutations (R436W, L633P) in a Japanese patient with congenital achromatopsia.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Jikei University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.


Congenital achromatopsia is a stationary retinal disorder with autosomal recessive inheritance that is characterized by loss of color discrimination, low visual acuity, photophobia, and nystagmus. This disorder has been shown to be associated with CNGA3, CNGB3, and GNAT2 mutations, and the frequency of mutations in the CNGA3 gene (encoding alpha subunit of the cone-specific cGMP-gated cation channel) was 23-33% in European populations. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that CNGA3 mutations are also responsible for congenital achromatopsia in Japanese patients. DNA from venous blood samples from a total of 14 patients from 13 Japanese pedigrees was prepared. Mutation screening of the CNGA3 gene was performed using direct sequencing and PCR-single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis. Compound heterozygous missense mutations (p.R436W and p.L633P, the latter of which was novel) were identified in one patient only, a 22-year-old female. Neither of these two mutations was found in 150 Japanese control individuals. The patient's parents and sister carried one of these mutations each but were not affected. No mutations in the CNGB3 or GNAT2 genes were identified in the patient. Clinically, best-corrected visual acuity was 0.1 in both eyes. No specific findings were obtained in funduscopy. Optical coherence topography revealed a normal foveal thickness but a 20% decrease in parafoveal thickness. Ganzfeld full-field electroretinograms (ERGs) showed normal responses in rod and mixed rod-plus-cone ERGs but no response in cone or 30-Hz flicker ERGs. Spectral sensitivity on a white background revealed a curve with only one peak at around 500 nm, which fits the absorption spectrum of human rhodopsin. L633, conserved among vertebrate orthologs of human CNGA3, is a hydrophobic residue forming part of the carboxy-terminal leucine zipper (CLZ) domain, which is functionally important in the mediation of intracellular interactions. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a Japanese complete achromat with CNGA3 mutations, and of any patient with a missense mutation within the CLZ domain. The outcome suggests low frequency (7%, 1/14) of CNGA3 mutations in Japanese patients.

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