New COL6A6 Variant Causes Autosomal Dominant Retinitis Pigmentosa in a Four-Generation Family

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2022 Mar 2;63(3):23. doi: 10.1167/iovs.63.3.23.


Purpose: To report that variants in the gene for a large lamina basal component protein, COL6A6 (collagen type VI alpha 6 chain, Col6α6), linked to chromosome 3p22.1 causes retinitis pigmentosa (RP) in patients with autosomal dominant transmission (adRP).

Methods: A positional-cloning approach, whole exome sequencing, and modeling were used. The proband and several affected family members have been phenotyped and followed for over 12 years.

Results: A heterozygous missense variant, c.509C>G (p. Ser170Cys) in exon 2 of COL6A6 (comprised of 36 exons and 2236 amino acids), was observed in a four- generation family and is likely to cause the adRP phenotype. It was identified in 10 affected members. All affected family members had a distinct phenotype: late-onset rod cone dystrophy, with good retained visual acuity, until their late 70s. Immunohistochemistry of human retina showed a dot-like signal at the base of the inner segments of photoreceptors and outer plexiform layer (OPL). The structural modeling of the N7 domain of Col6α6 suggests that the mutant might result in the abnormal cellular localization of collagen VI or malformation of collagen fibers resulting in the loss of its unique filament structure.

Conclusions: COL6A6 is widely expressed in human tissues and evolutionary conserved. It is thought to interact with a range of extracellular matrix components. Our findings suggest that this form of RP has long-term useful central visual acuity and a mild progression, which are important considerations for patient counseling.

MeSH terms

  • Collagen Type VI* / genetics
  • Cone-Rod Dystrophies* / genetics
  • Exons
  • Humans
  • Mutation, Missense
  • Pedigree
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa* / diagnosis
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa* / genetics


  • COL6A6 protein, human
  • Collagen Type VI