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Durham University

Department of Biosciences


Publication details for Prof Roy Andrew Quinlan

Hayes, Victoria H., Devlin, Glyn & Quinlan, Roy A. (2008). Truncation of αB-crystallin by the myopathy-causing Q151X mutation significantly destabilizes the protein leading to aggregate formation in transfected cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry 283(16): 10500-10512.

Author(s) from Durham


Here we investigate the effects of a myopathy-causing mutation in αB-crystallin, Q151X, upon its structure and function. This mutation removes the C-terminal domain of αB-crystallin, which is expected to compromise both its oligomerization and chaperone activity. We compared this to two other αB-crystallin mutants (450delA, 464delCT) and also to a series of C-terminal truncations (E164X, E165X, K174X, and A171X). We find that the effects of the Q151X mutation were not always as predicted. Specifically, we have found that although the Q151X mutation decreased oligomerization of αB-crystallin and even increased some chaperone activities, it also significantly destabilized αB-crystallin causing it to self-aggregate. This conclusion was supported by our analyses of both the other disease-causing mutants and the series of C-terminal truncation constructs of αB-crystallin. The 450delA and 464delCT mutants could only be refolded and assayed as a complex with wild type αB-crystallin, which was not the case for Q151X αB-crystallin. From these studies, we conclude that all three disease-causing mutations (450delA, 464delCT, and Q151X) in the C-terminal extension destabilize αB-crystallin and increase its tendency to self-aggregate. We propose that it is this, rather than a catastrophic loss of chaperone activity, which is a major factor in the development of the reported diseases for the three disease-causing mutations studied here. In support of this hypothesis, we show that Q151X αB-crystallin is found mainly in the insoluble fraction of cell extracts from transient transfected cells, due to the formation of cytoplasmic aggregates.