Molecular mechanism underlying a Cx50-linked congenital cataract

J. D. Pal, V. M. Berthoud, E. G. Beyer, D. Mackay, A. Shiels, L. Ebihara

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74 Scopus citations


Mutations in gap junctional channels have been linked to certain forms of inherited congenital cataract (D. Mackay, A. Ionides, V. Berry, A. Moore, S. Bhattacharya, and A. Shiels. Am. J. Hum. Genet. 60: 1474-1478, 1997; A. Shiels, D. Mackay, A. Ionides, V. Berry, A. Moore, and S. Bhattacharya. Am. J. Hum. Genet. 62: 526-532, 1998). We used the Xenopus oocyte pair system to investigate the functional properties of a missense mutation in the human connexin 50 gene (P88S) associated with zonular pulverulent cataract. The associated phenotype for the mutation is transmitted in an autosomal dominant fashion. Xenopus oocytes injected with wild-type connexin 50 cRNA developed gap junctional conductances of ~5 μS 4-7 h after pairing. In contrast, the P88S mutant connexin failed to form functional gap junctional channels when paired homo-typically. Moreover, the P88S mutant functioned in a dominant negative manner as an inhibitor of human connexin 50 gap junctional channels when coinjected with wild-type connexin 50 cRNA. Cells injected with 1:5 and 1:11 ratios of P88S mutant to wild-type cRNA exhibited gap junctional coupling of ~8% and 39% of wild-type coupling, respectively. Based on these findings, we conclude that only one P88S mutant subunit is necessary per gap junctional channel to abolish channel function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)C1443-C1446
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number6 45-6
StatePublished - 1999


  • Connexin 50
  • Dominant negative inhibition
  • Gap junction
  • P88S


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