A dominant mutation in MAPKAPK3, an actor of p38 signaling pathway, causes a new retinal dystrophy involving Bruch's membrane and retinal pigment epithelium

Isabelle Meunier (Lead / Corresponding author), Guy Lenaers, Béatrice Bocquet, Corinne Baudoin, Camille Piro-Megy, Aurélie Cubizolle, Mélanie Quilès, Albert Jean-Charles, Salomon Yves Cohen, Harold Merle, Alain Gaudric, Gilles Labesse, Gaël Manes, Marie Péquignot, Chantal Cazevieille, Claire-Marie Dhaenens, Agnès Fichard, Natalia Ronkina, J. Simon C. Arthur, Matthias GaestelChristian P Hamel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Inherited retinal dystrophies are clinically and genetically heterogeneous with significant number of cases remaining genetically unresolved. We studied a large family from the West Indies islands with a peculiar retinal disease, the Martinique crinkled retinal pigment epitheliopathy that begins around the age of 30 with retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and Bruch's membrane changes resembling a dry desert land and ends with a retinitis pigmentosa. Whole-exome sequencing identified a heterozygous c.518T>C (p.Leu173Pro) mutation in MAPKAPK3 that segregates with the disease in 14 affected and 28 unaffected siblings from three generations. This unknown variant is predicted to be damaging by bioinformatic predictive tools and the mutated protein to be non-functional by crystal structure analysis. MAPKAPK3 is a serine/threonine protein kinase of the p38 signaling pathway that is activated by a variety of stress stimuli and is implicated in cellular responses and gene regulation. In contrast to other tissues, MAPKAPK3 is highly expressed in the RPE, suggesting a crucial role for retinal physiology. Expression of the mutated allele in HEK cells revealed a mislocalization of the protein in the cytoplasm, leading to cytoskeleton alteration and cytodieresis inhibition. In Mapkapk3-/- mice, Bruch's membrane is irregular with both abnormal thickened and thinned portions. In conclusion, we identified the first pathogenic mutation in MAPKAPK3 associated with a retinal disease. These findings shed new lights on Bruch's membrane/RPE pathophysiology and will open studies of this signaling pathway in diseases with RPE and Bruch's membrane alterations, such as age-related macular degeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)916-26
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Molecular Genetics
Issue number5
Early online date6 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Bruch Membrane
  • Exome
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Pedigree
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Retinal Dystrophies
  • Retinal Pigment Epithelium
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Siblings
  • Signal Transduction
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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