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, 35 (5), 2521-34

Phenotypes of Stop Codon and Splice Site Rhodopsin Mutations Causing Retinitis Pigmentosa

  • PMID: 8163341

Phenotypes of Stop Codon and Splice Site Rhodopsin Mutations Causing Retinitis Pigmentosa

S G Jacobson et al. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci.


Purpose: To understand the pathophysiology of retinitis pigmentosa caused by mutations in the rhodopsin gene that lead to truncation of the protein.

Methods: Heterozygotes with the glutamine-64-to-ter (Q64ter), the intron 4 splice site, and the glutamine-344-to-ter (Q344ter) mutations in the rhodopsin gene, representing families with at least three generations of affected members, were studied with clinical examinations and measurements of rod and cone sensitivity across the visual field, rod- and cone-isolated electroretinograms (ERGs), rod dark adaptation, and rhodopsin levels.

Results: There was a range of severity of disease expression in each family, some heterozygotes having moderate or severe retinal degeneration and others with a mild phenotype. The mildly affected heterozygotes had normal results on ocular examination but decreased rod sensitivities at most loci across the visual field, abnormalities in rod-isolated ERG a- and b-waves, and reduced rhodopsin levels. Rod dark adaptation followed an approximately normal time course of recovery in patients with the Q64ter mutation. Patients with the splice site or Q344ter mutations both had prolonged recovery of sensitivity, but the time course was different in the two genotypes.

Conclusions: There is allele specificity for the pattern of retinal dysfunction in the Q64ter, intron 4 splice site, and Q344ter rhodopsin mutations. The pattern of dysfunction in all three mutations suggests the mutant opsins interfere with normal rod cell function, and there is subsequent rod and cone cell death.

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