Molecular genetics of Leber congenital amaurosis

Hum Mol Genet. 2002 May 15;11(10):1169-76. doi: 10.1093/hmg/11.10.1169.


Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) is the most common inherited cause of blindness in childhood and is characterised by a severe retinal dystrophy before the age of one year. Six genes have been identified that together account for approximately half of all LCA patients. These genes are expressed preferentially in the retina or the retinal pigment epithelium. Their putative functions are quite diverse and include retinal embryonic development (CRX), photoreceptor cell structure (CRB1), phototransduction (GUCY2D), protein trafficking (AIPL1, RPGRIP1), and vitamin A metabolism (RPE65). The molecular data for CRB1 and RPE65 support previous hypotheses that LCA can represent the severe end of a spectrum of retinal dystrophies. Given the diverse mechanisms underlying the disease, future therapies of LCA may need to be tailored to certain genetically defined subgroups. Based on experimental evidence in mice and dogs, patients with disturbed retinal metabolism of vitamin A through a mutation in the RPE65 gene will likely be the first candidates for future therapeutic trials.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Blindness / congenital
  • Blindness / genetics*
  • Blindness / therapy
  • Eye Diseases, Hereditary / genetics
  • Eye Diseases, Hereditary / therapy
  • Eye Proteins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Retinal Degeneration / congenital
  • Retinal Degeneration / genetics*
  • Retinal Degeneration / therapy


  • Eye Proteins