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Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2013 Feb 19;8:30. doi: 10.1186/1750-1172-8-30.

Novel mutations in the ferritin-L iron-responsive element that only mildly impair IRP binding cause hereditary hyperferritinaemia cataract syndrome.

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Institute of Predictive and Personalized Medicine of Cancer IMPPC, Ctra. de Can Ruti, Camí de les Escoles s/n, 08916, Badalona, Barcelona, Spain.



Hereditary Hyperferritinaemia Cataract Syndrome (HHCS) is a rare autosomal dominant disease characterized by increased serum ferritin levels and early onset of bilateral cataract. The disease is caused by mutations in the Iron-Responsive Element (IRE) located in the 5' untranslated region of L-Ferritin (FTL) mRNA, which post-transcriptionally regulates ferritin expression.


We describe two families presenting high serum ferritin levels and juvenile cataract with novel mutations in the L-ferritin IRE. The mutations were further characterized by in vitro functional studies.


We have identified two novel mutations in the IRE of L-Ferritin causing HHCS: the Badalona +36C > U and the Heidelberg +52 G > C mutation. Both mutations conferred reduced binding affinity on recombinant Iron Regulatory Proteins (IPRs) in EMSA experiments. Interestingly, the Badalona +36C > U mutation was found not only in heterozygosity, as expected for an autosomal dominant disease, but also in the homozygous state in some affected subjects. Additionally we report an update of all mutations identified so far to cause HHCS.


The Badalona +36C > U and Heidelberg +52 G > C mutations within the L-ferritin IRE only mildly alter the binding capacity of the Iron Regulatory Proteins but are still causative for the disease.

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