Diverse macular dystrophy phenotype caused by a novel complex mutation in the ELOVL4 gene

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2001 Dec;42(13):3331-6.


Purpose: A 5-bp deletion in ELOVL4, a photoreceptor-specific gene, has been associated with autosomal dominant (ad) macular dystrophy phenotypes in five related families, in which phenotypes range from Stargardt-like macular dystrophy (STGD3; Mendelian Inheritance in Man 600110) to pattern dystrophy. This has been the only mutation identified in ELOVL4 to date, which is associated with macular dystrophy phenotypes. In the current study, the potential involvement was investigated of an ELOVL4 gene variation in adSTGD-like and other macular dystrophy phenotypes segregating in a large unrelated pedigree from Utah (K4175).

Methods: The entire open reading frame of the ELOVL4 gene was analyzed by direct sequencing in a proband from the K4175 family. The combination of denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC) analysis and direct sequencing of all available family members was used to further assess segregation of identified ELOVL4 variants in the pedigree.

Results: A complex mutation, two 1-bp deletions separated by four nucleotides, was detected in all affected members of the family. The mutation results in a frameshift and the truncation of the ELOVL4 protein, similar to the effect of the previously described 5-bp deletion.

Conclusions: The discovery of a second mutation in the ELOVL4 gene segregating with macular dystrophy phenotypes confirms the role of this gene in a subset of dominant macular dystrophies with a wide range of clinical expressions and suggests a role for modifying genes and/or environmental factors in the disease process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Eye Proteins / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / genetics*
  • Macular Degeneration / pathology
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation / physiology*
  • Pedigree
  • Penetrance
  • Phenotype


  • ELOVL4 protein, human
  • Eye Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins