A nonsense mutation in PDE6H causes autosomal-recessive incomplete achromatopsia

Am J Hum Genet. 2012 Sep 7;91(3):527-32. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2012.07.006. Epub 2012 Aug 16.


Achromatopsia (ACHM) is an autosomal-recessive retinal dystrophy characterized by color blindness, photophobia, nystagmus, and severely reduced visual acuity. Its prevalence has been estimated to about 1 in 30,000 individuals. Four genes, GNAT2, PDE6C, CNGA3, and CNGB3, have been implicated in ACHM, and all encode functional components of the phototransduction cascade in cone photoreceptors. Applying a functional-candidate-gene approach that focused on screening additional genes involved in this process in a cohort of 611 index cases with ACHM or other cone photoreceptor disorders, we detected a homozygous single base change (c.35C>G) resulting in a nonsense mutation (p.Ser12(∗)) in PDE6H, encoding the inhibitory γ subunit of the cone photoreceptor cyclic guanosine monophosphate phosphodiesterase. The c.35C>G mutation was present in three individuals from two independent families with a clinical diagnosis of incomplete ACHM and preserved short-wavelength-sensitive cone function. Moreover, we show through immunohistochemical colocalization studies in mouse retina that Pde6h is evenly present in all retinal cone photoreceptors, a fact that had been under debate in the past. These findings add PDE6H to the set of genes involved in autosomal-recessive cone disorders and demonstrate the importance of the inhibitory γ subunit in cone phototransduction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3',5'-Cyclic-GMP Phosphodiesterases / genetics*
  • Adult
  • Base Sequence
  • Codon, Nonsense*
  • Color Vision Defects / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genes, Recessive
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Young Adult


  • Codon, Nonsense
  • 3',5'-Cyclic-GMP Phosphodiesterases
  • PDE6H protein, human