PURPOSE: Within a mutagenesis screen, we identified the new mouse mutant Aca47 with small lenses and reduced axial eye lengths. The aim of the actual study was the molecular and morphological characterization of the mouse mutant Aca47. METHODS: We analyzed the offspring of paternally N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU) treated C57BL/6J mice for eye-size parameters by non-invasive in vivo laser interference biometry. Linkage analysis of the eye size mutant Aca47 was performed using single nucleotide polymorphisms and microsatellite markers. The Aca47 mutation was identified by sequence analysis of positional candidate genes. A general polymorphism at the mutated site was excluded by restriction analysis. Eyes of the Aca47 mouse mutant were characterized by histology. Visual properties were examined in the virtual drum. RESULTS: We identified a new mutant characterized by a significantly smaller lens and reduced axial eye length without any changes for cornea thickness, anterior chamber depth or aqueous humor size. The smaller size of lens was more pronounced in the homozygous mutants, which further developed congenital cataracts in the lens nucleus. The mutation was mapped to chromosome 7 between the markers D7Mit247 and D7Mit81. Using a positional candidate approach, the lens intrinsic integral membrane protein MP19 encoding gene Lim2 was sequenced; a T→C exchange at cDNA position 151 leads to a cysteine-to-arginine substitution at position 51 of the Lim2 protein. Eye histology of adult heterozygous mutants did not show alterations on the cellular level. However, homozygous lenses revealed irregularly arranged lens fiber layers in the cortex. Virtual vision tests indicated that visual properties are not affected by reduced eye size of heterozygous individuals. CONCLUSIONS: These findings demonstrate a novel missense mutation in the Lim2 gene that affects lens development in a semidominant manner. Since homozygous mutants develop congenital lens opacities, this line can be used as a model for inherited cataract formation in humans.