Functional defects of Cx26 resulting from a heterozygous missense mutation in a family with dominant deaf-mutism and palmoplantar keratoderma

Hum Genet. 1998 Oct;103(4):393-9. doi: 10.1007/s004390050839.


Mutations in GJB2 encoding the gap junction protein connexin-26 (Cx26) have been established as the basis of autosomal recessive non-syndromic hearing loss. The involvement of GJB2 in autosomal dominant deafness has also been proposed, although the putative mutation identified in one family with both deafness and palmoplantar keratoderma has recently been suggested to be merely a non-disease associated polymorphism. We have observed a similar phenotype in an Egyptian family that segregated with a heterozygous missense mutation of GJB2, leading to a non-conservative amino acid substitution (R75W). The deleterious dominant-negative effect of R75W on gap channel function was subsequently demonstrated in the paired oocyte expression system. Not only was R75W alone incapable of inducing electrical conductance between adjacent cells, but it almost completely suppressed the activity of co-expressed wildtype protein. The Cx26 mutant W77R, which has been implicated in autosomal recessive deafness, also failed to form functional gap channels by itself but did not significantly interfere with the function of wildtype Cx26. These data provide compelling evidence for the serious functional consequences of Cx26 mutations in dominant and recessive deafness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Connexin 26
  • Connexins / genetics*
  • Deafness / genetics*
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Female
  • Genes, Dominant
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Keratoderma, Palmoplantar / genetics*
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation, Missense
  • Pedigree


  • Connexins
  • GJB2 protein, human
  • Connexin 26