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Am J Hum Genet. 2006 Nov;79(5):973-7. Epub 2006 Sep 27.

Mutation in the auxiliary calcium-channel subunit CACNA2D4 causes autosomal recessive cone dystrophy.

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Division of Medical Molecular Genetics and Gene Diagnostics, Institute of Medical Genetics, University of Zurich, Schwerzenbach, Switzerland.


Retinal signal transmission depends on the activity of high voltage-gated l-type calcium channels in photoreceptor ribbon synapses. We recently identified a truncating frameshift mutation in the Cacna2d4 gene in a spontaneous mouse mutant with profound loss of retinal signaling and an abnormal morphology of ribbon synapses in rods and cones. The Cacna2d4 gene encodes an l-type calcium-channel auxiliary subunit of the alpha (2) delta type. Mutations in its human orthologue, CACNA2D4, were not yet known to be associated with a disease. We performed mutation analyses of 34 patients who received an initial diagnosis of night blindness, and, in two affected siblings, we detected a homozygous nucleotide substitution (c.2406C-->A) in CACNA2D4. The mutation introduces a premature stop codon that truncates one-third of the corresponding open reading frame. Both patients share symptoms of slowly progressing cone dystrophy. These findings represent the first report of a mutation in the human CACNA2D4 gene and define a novel gene defect that causes autosomal recessive cone dystrophy.

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