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Viviana M. Berthoud, Peter J. Minogue, Helena Yu, Richard Schroeder, Joseph I. Snabb, Eric C. Beyer; Connexin50D47A Decreases Levels of Fiber Cell Connexins and Impairs Lens Fiber Cell Differentiation. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(12):7614-7622. doi: 10.1167/iovs.13-13188.
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© 2016 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Substitutions of aspartate-47 (D47) of Connexin50 (Cx50) have been linked to autosomal dominant congenital cataracts in several human pedigrees. To elucidate the lens abnormalities caused by a substitution at this position, we studied No2 mice, which carry the Cx50D47A mutation and parallel the human pathology.
Lenses from mice of different ages (neonatal to 4 months) were examined by dark-field and immunofluorescence microscopy. Protein levels were determined by immunoblotting using primary antibodies directed against connexins, other membrane proteins, crystallins, and proteins residing in different organelles.
Lenses of both heterozygous and homozygous Cx50D47A mice had cataracts and were smaller than those of wild-type littermates. Levels of Cx50 were severely reduced in mutant animals as compared with those in wild-type mice (<20% in heterozygotes and ≤3% in homozygotes). Levels of Cx46 and aquaporin0 were also decreased, but to a lesser extent. The immunostaining pattern of lens connexins was altered in mutant animals. The lenses of Cx50D47A mice showed persistence of nuclear remnants in deep regions of the lens and elevated levels of H3 histone and the mitochondrial protein, Tom20. γ-Crystallin levels were decreased in lenses of all mutant mice, and β-crystallins were reduced in homozygotes.
These data suggest that mice expressing Cx50D47A develop cataracts due to a severe decrease in the abundance of functional connexin channels. They also implicate Cx50 in fiber cell differentiation, since mutant lenses showed impaired degradation of organelles and decreased levels of some crystallins.
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