Interspecies conservation of amino acid residues mutated in patients carrying presumably pathogenic mutations in several USH genes. Representative stretches of amino acid sequences from each of the USH proteins from various species were aligned, and identical residues highlighted with shading. Residues involved in missense mutations are underlined. Protein ID accession numbers are indicated in parentheses. Orthologs of MYO7A, USH2A and WHRN are present in the cnidarian Ciona savignyi; they encode proteins that have 53.5%, 36.5%, and 24.7% (whirlin short isoform) of sequence identity with the human proteins, respectively. Notably, the P1220 residue of myosin VIIa, and the G1301 and C3307 residues of usherin, which are involved in the USH patients' missense mutations, are conserved in C. savignyi. Incidentally, all the new USH2A missense mutations detected in our series of patients affect residues that are also conserved in this species.