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Analysis of Disease-Linked Rhodopsin Mutations Based on Structure, Function, and Protein Stability Calculations
- Rakoczy, Elizabeth P., Kiel, Christina, McKeone, Richard, Stricher, François, Serrano, Luis
- Journal of molecular biology 2011 v.405 no.2 pp. 584-606
- algorithms, energy, glycosylation, macular degeneration, mutants, mutation, night blindness, phenotype, prediction, rhodopsin, vision
- Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) refers to a heterogeneous group of inherited diseases that result in progressive retinal degeneration, characterized by visual field constriction and night blindness. A total of 103 mutations in rhodopsin are linked to RP to date, and the phenotypes range from severe to asymptomatic. To study the relation between phenotype and rhodopsin stability in disease mutants, we used a structure-based approach. For 12 of the mutants located at the protein–lipid interphase, we used the von Heijne water–membrane transfer scale, and we find that 9 of the mutations could affect membrane insertion. For 91 mutants, we used the protein design algorithm FoldX. The 3 asymptomatic mutations had no significant reduced stability, 2 were unsuitable for FoldX analysis since the structure was incorrect in this region, 63 mutations had a significant change in protein stability (>1.6 kcal/mol), and 23 mutations had energy change values under the prediction error threshold (<1.6 kcal/mol). Out of these 23, the disease-causing effect could be explained by the involvement in other functions (e.g., glycosylation motifs, the interface with arrestin and transducin, and the cilia-binding motif) for 19 mutants. The remaining 4 mutants were probably incorrectly associated with RP or have functionalities not discovered yet. For destabilizing mutations where clinical data were available, we found a highly significant correlation between FoldX energy changes and the average age of night blindness and between FoldX energy changes and daytime vision loss onset. Our detailed structural, functional, and energetic analysis provides a complete picture of the rhodopsin mutations and can guide mutation-specific therapies.