Tracing Infantile Cataracts

Khandekar Jishan Bari and K.V.R Chary

Infantile cataracts are a root cause of blindness in children. When a cataract develops in the eye, the lens slowly becomes opaque. A mutant form of Gamma S-crystallin, a protein abundant in the eye lens cortex, is associated with this form of cataract. A study, led by Prof.K.V.R. Chary, tried to uncover whether this opacity was caused due to any structural and functional changes in the mutant form of Gamma S-crystallin. With the help of sophisticated spectroscopic experiments, it was found that the mutant protein was structurally unstable as compared to the healthy protein, and this structural weakness is caused by a change in the 67th amino acid of this protein.