Comprehensive analysis of the achromatopsia genes CNGA3 and CNGB3 in progressive cone dystrophy

Ophthalmology. 2010 Apr;117(4):825-30.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2009.09.008. Epub 2010 Jan 15.


Objective: To investigate whether the major achromatopsia genes (CNGA3 and CNGB3) play a role in the cause of progressive cone dystrophy (CD).

Design: Prospective multicenter study.

Participants: Probands (N = 60) with autosomal recessive (ar) CD from various ophthalmogenetic clinics in The Netherlands.

Methods: All available ophthalmologic data from the arCD probands were registered from medical charts and updated by an additional ophthalmologic examination. Mutations in the CNGA3 and CNGB3 genes were analyzed by direct sequencing.

Main outcome measures: CNGA3 and CNGB3 mutations and clinical course in arCD probands.

Results: In 3 arCD probands (3/60; 5%) we found 2 mutations in the CNGB3 gene. Two of these probands had compound heterozygous mutations (p.R296YfsX9/p.R274VfsX12 and p.R296YfsX9/c.991-3T>g). The third proband revealed homozygous missense mutations (p.R403Q) with 2 additional variants in the CNGA3 gene (p.E228K and p.V266M). These probands did not have a congenital nystagmus, but had a progressive deterioration of visual acuity, color vision, and photopic electroretinogram, with onset in the second decade. In 6 other unrelated probands, we found 6 different heterozygous amino acid changes in the CNGA3 (N = 4) and CNGB3 (N = 2) gene.

Conclusions: The CNGB3 gene accounts for a small fraction of the later onset progressive form of cone photoreceptor disorders, and CNGA3 may have an additive causative effect. Our data indicate that these genes are involved in a broader spectrum of cone dysfunction, and it remains intriguing why initial cone function can be spared despite similar gene defects.

Financial disclosure(s): The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Color Perception Tests
  • Color Vision Defects / diagnosis
  • Color Vision Defects / genetics*
  • Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Cation Channels / genetics*
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Electroretinography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • Pedigree
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells / pathology*
  • Retinal Degeneration / diagnosis
  • Retinal Degeneration / genetics*
  • Visual Acuity / physiology


  • CNGA3 protein, human
  • CNGB3 protein, human
  • Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Cation Channels