Protracted course of juvenile ceroid lipofuscinosis associated with a novel CLN3 mutation (p.Y199X)

Clin Genet. 2009 Jul;76(1):38-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0004.2009.01179.x. Epub 2009 May 21.


The juvenile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (JNCL, Batten disease, MIM 204200), is an autosomal recessive lysosomal storage disease, which is characterized by ubiquitous accumulation of the lipopigment material ceroid-lipofuscin. It manifests with loss of vision in childhood due to retinal degeneration, followed by seizures and parkinsonism leading to premature death at around 30 years. Eighty-five percent of JNCL patients carry a disease-causing 1.02 kb deletion in the CLN3 gene on chromosome 16. Here we report on a large consanguineous Lebanese family with five affected siblings. Electron microscopy of lymphocytes revealed the presence of fingerprint profiles suggesting JNCL. However, disease progression, especially of mental and motor function was slower as expected for 'classic' JNCL. We thus confirmed the diagnosis by genetic testing and found a new c.597C>A transversion in exon 8, homozygous in all affected family members and not present in 200 alleles of normal controls. The mutation generates a premature termination codon (p.Y199X) truncating the CLN3 protein by 55%. In heterozygous state mutant mRNA transcripts are expressed at the same levels as the wild-type ones, suggesting the absence of nonsense mediated messenger decay. We discuss a potential residual catalytic function of the truncated protein as a cause for the mild phenotype.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age of Onset
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Child
  • Chromosome Segregation
  • Disease Progression
  • Exons / genetics
  • Female
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Humans
  • Lebanon / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics*
  • Molecular Chaperones / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Neuronal Ceroid-Lipofuscinoses / epidemiology
  • Neuronal Ceroid-Lipofuscinoses / genetics*
  • Neuronal Ceroid-Lipofuscinoses / pathology*
  • Ophthalmology
  • Pedigree
  • Young Adult


  • CLN3 protein, human
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Molecular Chaperones