The mutation spectrum of the bestrophin protein – functional implications
- Cite this article as:
- Bakall, B., Marknell, T., Ingvast, S. et al. Hum Genet (1999) 104: 383. doi:10.1007/s004390050972
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Best’s macular dystrophy (BMD), also known as vitelliform macular degeneration type 2 (VMD2; OMIM 153700), is an autosomal dominant form of macular degeneration with mainly juvenile onset. BMD is characterized by the accumulation of lipofuscin within and beneath the retinal pigment epithelium. The gene causing the disease has been localized to 11q13 by recombination breakpoint mapping. Recently, we have identified the causative gene encoding a protein named bestrophin, and mutations have been found mainly to affect residues that are conserved from a family of genes in Caenorhabditis elegans. The function of bestrophin is so far unknown, and no reliable predictions can be made from sequence comparisons. We have investigated the bestrophin gene in 14 unrelated Swedish, Dutch, Danish, and Moroccan families affected with BMD and found eight new mutations. Including the previously published mutations, 15 different missense mutations have now been detected in 19 of the 22 families with BMD investigated by our laboratory. Interestingly, the mutations cluster in certain regions, and no nonsense mutations or mutations causing frame-shifts have been identified. Computer simulations of the structural elements in the bestrophin protein show that this protein is probably membrane bound, with four putative transmembrane regions.