Noncoding variation of the gene for ferritin light chain in hereditary and age-related cataract

Thomas M. Bennett, Giovanni Maraini, Chongfei Jin, Wenmin Sun, J. Fielding Hejtmancik, Alan Shiels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose: Cataract is a clinically and genetically heterogeneous disorder of the ocular lens and an important cause of visual impairment. The aim of this study was to map and identify the gene underlying autosomal dominant cataract segregating in a four-generation family, determine the lens expression profile of the identified gene, and test for its association with age-related cataract in a case-control cohort. Methods: Genomic DNA was prepared from blood leukocytes, and genotyping was performed by means of single-nucleotide polymorphism markers and microsatellite markers. Linkage analyses were performed using the GeneHunter and MLINK programs, and mutation detection was achieved by dideoxy cycle sequencing. Lens expression studies were performed using reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and in situ hybridization. Results: Genome-wide linkage analysis with single nucleotide polymorphism markers in the family identified a likely disease-haplotype interval on chromosome 19q (rs888861-[~17Mb]-rs8111640) that encompassed the microsatellite marker D19S879 (logarithm of the odds score [Z]=2.03, recombination distance [θ]=0). Mutation profiling of positional- candidate genes detected a heterozygous, noncoding G-to-T transversion (c.-168G>T) located in the iron response element (IRE) of the gene coding for ferritin light chain (FTL) that cosegregated with cataract in the family. Serum ferritin levels were found to be abnormally elevated (~fourfold), without evidence of iron overload, in an affected family member; this was consistent with a diagnosis of hereditary hyperferritinemia-cataract syndrome. No sequence variations located within the IRE were detected in a cohort of 197 cases with age-related cataract and 102 controls with clear lenses. Expression studies of human FTL, and its mouse counterpart FTL1, in the lens detected RT-PCR amplicons containing full-length protein-coding regions, and strong in situ localization of FTL1 transcripts to the lens equatorial epithelium and peripheral cortex. Conclusions: The data are consistent with robust transcription of FTL in the lens, and suggest that whereas variations clustered in the IRE of the FTL gene are directly associated with hereditary hyperferritinemia-cataract syndrome, such IRE variations are unlikely to play a significant role in the genetic etiology of age-related cataract.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-844
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular vision
StatePublished - Apr 11 2013


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