Structural and functional alterations associated with deutan N94K and R330Q mutations of green cone opsin

Sundaramoorthy Srinivasan, Miguel A. Fernández-Sampedro, Eva Ramon, Pere Garriga

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4 Scopus citations


Deuteranopia is an X-linked congenital dichromatic condition in which single point mutations in green cone opsin lead to defective non-functional cone photoreceptor cells. Green cone opsin belongs to the G protein-coupled receptor superfamily and consists of a seven transmembrane helical apoprotein covalently bound to 11-cis-retinal, by means of a protonated Schiff base linkage, in its inactive dark state. Several point mutations in green cone opsin have been reported to cause deuteranopia, but the structural details underlying the molecular mechanisms behind the malfunction of mutated opsins have not been clearly established. Here, deutan N94K and R330Q mutants were studied by introducing these substitutions into the native green cone opsin gene by site-directed mutagenesis. The mutant proteins were purified and analyzed using UV-vis spectroscopy and transducin activation assay. We find that the N94K mutant binds the retinal chromophore by means of an unprotonated Schiff base linkage in contrast to previous studies that reported no chromophore regeneration. The other mutant studied, R330Q, showed impaired functionality as measured by its reduced transducin activation ability when compared to wild-type green cone opsin. A double Cys mutant that could form a stabilizing disulfide bond was used in an attempt to address the instability of the green opsin mutants. Our results suggest the presence of key intramolecular networks which may be disrupted in deuteranopia, and these findings could help in finding therapeutic solutions for treating color blindness. Furthermore, our results can also have implications for the study of other visual pigments and other rhodopsin-like G protein-coupled receptors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1840-1847
Number of pages8
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017


  • Color vision
  • Deuteranopia
  • G-protein coupled receptors
  • Ligand binding
  • Protein stability


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