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Altered aggregation properties of mutant gamma-crystallins cause inherited cataract

Sandilands, A; Hutcheson, AM; Long, HA; Prescott, AR; Vrensen, G; Löster, J; Klopp, N; Lutz, RB; Graw, J; Masaki, S; Dobson, CM; MacPhee, CE; Quinlan, RA


A Sandilands

AM Hutcheson

HA Long

AR Prescott

G Vrensen

J Löster

N Klopp

RB Lutz

J Graw

S Masaki

CM Dobson

CE MacPhee


Protein inclusions are associated with a diverse group of human diseases ranging from localized neurological disorders through to systemic non-neuropathic diseases. Here, we present evidence that the formation of intranuclear inclusions is a key event in cataract formation involving altered -crystallins that are un likely to adopt their native fold. In three different inherited murine cataracts involving this type of -crystallin mutation, large inclusions containing the altered -crystallins were found in the nuclei of the primary lens fibre cells. Their formation preceded not only the first gross morphological changes in the lens, but also the first signs of cataract. The inclusions contained filamentous material that could be stained with the amyloid-detecting dye, Congo red. In vitro, recombinant mutant B-crystallin readily formed amyloid fibrils under physiological buffer conditions, unlike wild-type protein. These data suggest that this type of cataract is caused by a mechanism involving the nuclear targeting and deposition of amyloid-like inclusions. The mutant -crystallins initially disrupt nuclear function, but then this progresses to a full cataract phenotype.


Sandilands, A., Hutcheson, A., Long, H., Prescott, A., Vrensen, G., Löster, J., …Quinlan, R. (2002). Altered aggregation properties of mutant gamma-crystallins cause inherited cataract. The EMBO Journal, 21(22), 6005-6014.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Nov 1, 2002
Deposit Date Jul 3, 2008
Journal EMBO Journal
Print ISSN 0261-4189
Electronic ISSN 1460-2075
Publisher EMBO Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Issue 22
Pages 6005-6014
Keywords Amyloidosis, -crystallins, Protein misfolding.
Publisher URL