Journal Article

The molecular basis of dichromatic color vision in males with multiple red and green visual pigment genes

Wolfgang M. Jagla, Herbert Jägle, Takaaki Hayashi, Lindsay T. Sharpe and Samir S. Deeb

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 11, issue 1, pages 23-32
Published in print January 2002 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online January 2002 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/11.1.23
The molecular basis of dichromatic color vision in males with multiple red and green visual pigment genes

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We investigated the genotypic variation in 50 red–green color vision deficient males (27 deuteranopes and 23 protanopes) of middle European ancestry who possess multiple genes in the X-linked photopigment gene array. We have previously shown that only the first two genes of the array are expressed and contribute to the color vision phenotype. Therefore, the hypothesis is that the first two genes possessed by multigene-dichromats encode pigments of identical or nearly identical spectral sensitivity: one gene normal (R or G) and the other a hybrid (G/R or R/G). The spectral sensitivities of the encoded pigments were inferred from published in vitro and in vivo data. The color vision phenotype was assessed by standard anomaloscopy. Most genotypes (92%) included hybrid genes whose sequence and position and whose encoded pigment correlated exactly with the phenotype. However, one and possibly two of the protanopes had gene arrays consistent with protanomaly rather than protanopia, since two spectrally different pigments may be encoded by their arrays. Two of the deuteranopes had only R- and G-photopigment genes, without any detectable G/R-hybrid genes or any as-of-yet identified point mutation or coding/promoter sequence deletions. Further, an unexpectedly high number of multigene-deuteranopes (11%) had the C203R mutation in their most upstream G-pigment gene, suggesting a founder effect of middle European origin for this mutation. About half of the protanopes possessed an upstream R/G-hybrid gene with different exon 2 coding sequences than their downstream G-pigment gene(s), which is inconsistent with published data implying that a single amino acid substitution in exon 2 can confer red–green color discrimination capacity on multigene-protans by altering the optical density of the cones.

Journal Article.  8012 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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