Electrophysiologic and phenotypic features of an autosomal cone-rod dystrophy caused by a novel CRX mutation.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Ophthalmology, Volume 109, Issue 10, p.1862-70 (2002)


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Amino Acid Sequence, Chromosome Mapping, Color Perception, Electroretinography, Female, Frameshift Mutation, Fundus Oculi, Genes, Dominant, Genetic Linkage, Haplotypes, Homeodomain Proteins, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Molecular Sequence Data, Pedigree, Phenotype, Retinal Cone Photoreceptor Cells, Retinal Rod Photoreceptor Cells, Retinitis Pigmentosa, Rhodopsin, Trans-Activators, Visual Acuity


<p><b>PURPOSE: </b>To reexamine a large Albertan family previously reported with a progressive cone dystrophy with variable phenotype and to map the disorder using molecular genetic techniques.</p><p><b>DESIGN: </b>Observational case series.</p><p><b>PARTICIPANTS: </b>Twenty-nine subjects (10 affected) from four generations of a large kindred were clinically examined. Twenty-three of these individuals, as well as two unaffected spouses, were included in the molecular genetic study. Subject ages ranged from 17 to 91 years of age.</p><p><b>METHODS: </b>Disease status and associated ocular abnormalities were assessed primarily by measurement of visual acuity, color vision, fundus photography, and both full-field and multifocal electroretinography (ERG and mfERG). Linkage of the disorder to the rhodopsin gene was studied using microsatellites. A mutational screen of the CRX gene was performed to identify coding sequence changes.</p><p><b>MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: </b>Visual acuity and color discrimination were reduced in clinically affected individuals; full-field flash ERG was used to measure function of both cones and rods. mfERG and fundus photography allowed documentation of the observed macular changes.</p><p><b>RESULTS: </b>We noted a variable, adult-onset macular dystrophy, progressing in some cases to a retinitis pigmentosa-like phenotype. Both photopic and scotopic full-field ERG amplitudes were reduced by approximately 50%, demonstrating involvement of both photoreceptor systems. A reduced b-wave amplitude with a relatively preserved a-wave was observed at both cone and rod levels. Macular involvement was confirmed by mfERG. The rhodopsin locus was excluded by haplotype analysis. A novel frameshift mutation was detected in exon III of the CRX retinal homeobox gene. ERG and molecular genetic findings were consistent with the reclassification of this disease as an autosomal dominant cone-rod dystrophy (CRD) CONCLUSIONS: We report a novel CRX mutation causing autosomal dominant CRD. Observed ERG changes suggest that this mutation primarily impairs inner retinal function. Because retinal expression of CRX is limited to photoreceptors, this dysfunction may be the result of faulty photoreceptor communication with second-order retinal neurons. We propose misexpression of gated cation channels caused by altered CRX activity as one putative mechanism by which a sole photoreceptor defect may selectively impair neurotransmission without disrupting the upstream events of phototransduction.</p>

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