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Biochemistry. 2008 Sep 16;47(37):9856-65. doi: 10.1021/bi800905v. Epub 2008 Aug 23.

Impact of retinal disease-associated RPE65 mutations on retinoid isomerization.

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Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106-4965, USA.


Pathogenic mutations in the RPE65 gene are associated with a spectrum of congenital blinding diseases in humans. We evaluated changes in the promoter region, coding regions, and exon/intron junctions of the RPE65 gene by direct sequencing of DNA from 36 patients affected with Leber's congenital amaurosis (LCA), 62 with autosomal recessive retinitis pigmentosa (arRP), and 21 with autosomal dominant/recessive cone-rod dystrophies (CORD). Fifteen different variants were found, of which 6 were novel. Interesting was Gly244Val, a novel mutation close to the catalytic center. To assess the role of this mutation in RPE65 inactivation, we performed detailed biochemical studies of the mutant along with a structural analysis of the 244 amino acid position with respect to amino acids known to be important for RPE65-dependent retinoid isomerization. Bicistronic plasmid expression of the RPE65 Gly244Val mutant and enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) allowed us to document both its instability in cultured cells by cell sorting and immunoblotting methodology and its loss of RPE65-dependent isomerase activity by enzymatic assays. Further insights into the structural requirements for retinoid isomerization by RPE65 were obtained by using the carotenoid oxygenase (ACO) from Synechocystis (PDB accession code 2BIW ) as a structural template to construct a RPE65 homology model and locating all known inactivating mutations including Gly244Val within this model.

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