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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1999 Jul;40(8):1859-65.

Frequency of mutations in the gene encoding the alpha subunit of rod cGMP-phosphodiesterase in autosomal recessive retinitis pigmentosa.

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Ocular Molecular Genetics Institute, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston 02114, USA.



To determine the mutation spectrum of the PDE6A gene encoding the alpha subunit of rod cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP)phosphodiesterase and the proportion of patients with recessive retinitis pigmentosa (RP) due to mutations in this gene.


The single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) technique and a direct genomic sequencing technique were used to screen all 22 exons of this gene for mutations in 164 unrelated patients with recessive or isolate RP. Variant DNA fragments revealed by SSCP analysis were subsequently sequenced. Selected alleles that altered the coding region or intron splice sites were evaluated further through segregation analysis in the families of the index cases.


Four new families were identified with five novel mutations in this gene that cosegregated with disease. Combining the data presented here with those published earlier by the authors, eight different mutations in six families have been discovered to be pathogenic. Two of the mutations are nonsense, five are missense, and one affects a canonical splice-donor site.


The PDE6A gene appears to account for roughly 3% to 4% of families with recessive RP in North America. A compilation of the pathogenic mutations in PDE6A and those reported in the homologous gene PDE6B encoding the beta subunit of rod cGMP-phosphodiesterase shows that the cGMP-binding and catalytic domains are frequently affected.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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