Congenital cataract (CC) is the leading cause of visual disability in children. To date, mutations in many genes have been linked to CC. In a four-generation Chinese family with congenital nuclear pulverulent and posterior polar cataracts, we detected a heterozygous c.5G>A transition in the second exon ofGJA3, resulting in the substitution of a highly conserved glycine with aspartic acid (p.G2D) at the N-terminus of the connexin46 (Cx46) protein. Wild type (wt) and mutant Cx46 plasmids were transfected into HeLa cells to examine the molecular basis of cataract formation. Unlike wt Cx46, Cx46G2D mutant formed gap junction plaques inefficiently, changed hemichannel permeability, and caused apoptosis. These results suggest that the glycine residue at the second position of the N-terminus is important for gap junction plaque formation and hemichannel function. 32:1367–1370, 2011. ©2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.