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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Ophthalmology

The Congenital Cataract-Linked G61C Mutation Destabilizes ?D-Crystallin and Promotes Non-Native Aggregation
Published: Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Author: Wang Zhang et al.

by Wang Zhang, Hong-Chen Cai, Fei-Feng Li, Yi-Bo Xi, Xu Ma, Yong-Bin Yan

?D-crystallin is one of the major structural proteins in human eye lens. The solubility and stability of ?D-crystallin play a crucial role in maintaining the optical properties of the lens during the life span of an individual. Previous study has shown that the inherited mutation G61C results in autosomal dominant congenital cataract. In this research, we studied the effects of the G61C mutation on ?D-crystallin structure, stability and aggregation via biophysical methods. CD, intrinsic and extrinsic fluorescence spectroscopy indicated that the G61C mutation did not affect the native structure of ?D-crystallin. The stability of ?D-crystallin against heat- or GdnHCl-induced denaturation was significantly decreased by the mutation, while no influence was observed on the acid-induced unfolding. The mutation mainly affected the transition from the native state to the intermediate but not that from the intermediate to the unfolded or aggregated states. At high temperatures, both proteins were able to form aggregates, and the aggregation of the mutant was much more serious than the wild type protein at the same temperature. At body temperature and acidic conditions, the mutant was more prone to form amyloid-like fibrils. The aggregation-prone property of the mutant was not altered by the addition of reductive reagent. These results suggested that the decrease in protein stability followed by aggregation-prone property might be the major cause in the hereditary cataract induced by the G61C mutation.
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