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Mol Vis. 2012;18:203-10. Epub 2012 Jan 25.

Coralliform cataract caused by a novel connexin46 (GJA3) mutation in a Chinese family.

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Beijing Institute of Ophthalmology, Beijing Tongren Eye Center, Beijing Tongren Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences Key Laboratory, Beijing, China.



To identify a novel disease-causing mutation of the GJA3 (gap junction alpha-3 protein) gene in a Chinese family with autosomal dominant congenital cataract (ADCC).


One family was examined clinically. After informed consent was obtained, genomic DNA was extracted from the venous blood of all participants. Genetic linkage analysis was performed on the known genetic loci for ADCC with a panel of polymorphic markers, and then mutations were screened by direct sequencing. Whenever substitutions were identified in a patient, high-resolution melt curve analysis (HRM) was performed on all available family members and 100 normal controls. Bioinformatics analysis was undergone by the Garnier-Osguthorpe-Robson (GOR) and the PolyPhen (polymorphism phenotyping) programs to predict the effect of variants detected on secondary structure and protein function of the GJA3 protein.


Clinical examination and pedigree analysis revealed one four-generation family with congenital nuclear coralliform cataracts. Significant two-point LOD (linkage odd disequilibrium) score was generated at marker D13S292 (Z(max)=2.51, θ=0), and further linkage and haplotype studies confined the disease locus to 13q11-13. Mutations screening of GJA3 in this family revealed an A→T transversion at position 563 (p.N188I) of the cDNA sequence. This novel missense mutation co-segregated with the affected members of the pedigree, but is not present in the unaffected relatives or 100 normal individuals. Secondary structure prediction suggested that the mutant GJA8 188I would replace three turns "T" with three β sheet "E" at amino acid 189-191 and a β sheet "E" with a turn "T" at position 194.


Novel missense mutation in the second extracellular loop (E2) was detected, causing coral-like opacities involving embryonic and fetal nucleus surrounded by blue punctate opacities in the cortical zone of the lens. The results further suggested that the extracellular loop was the mutation hotspot of GJA3.

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