Mutations in the human gammaD-crystallin gene have been linked to several types of congenital cataracts. In particular, the Pro23 to Thr (P23T) mutation of human gammaD crystallin has been linked to cerulean, lamellar, coralliform, and fasciculiform congenital cataracts. We have expressed and purified wild-type human gammaD, P23T, and the Pro23 to Ser23 (P23S) mutant. Our measurements show that P23T is significantly less soluble than wild-type human gammaD, with P23S having an intermediate solubility. Using synchrotron radiation circular dichroism spectroscopy, we have determined that the P23T mutant has a slightly increased content of beta-sheet, which may be attributed to the extension of an edge beta-strand due to the substitution of Pro23 with a residue able to form hydrogen bonds. Neither of the point mutations appears to have reduced the thermal stability of the protein significantly, nor its resistance to guanidine hydrochloride-induced unfolding. These results suggest that insolubility, rather than loss of stability, is the primary basis for P23T congenital cataracts.