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Viviana M. Berthoud, Peter J. Minogue, Helena Yu, Joseph I. Snabb, Eric C. Beyer; Connexin46fs380 Causes Progressive Cataracts. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(10):6639-6648. doi: 10.1167/iovs.14-15012.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Although many connexin46 (Cx46) mutants have been linked to inherited human cataracts, there are no adequate animal models for their study. The current experiments were designed to characterize the consequences of expression of one such mutant, Cx46fs380, in the mouse lens.
Mice expressing Cx46fs380 were generated by a knockin strategy. Levels and distribution of specific proteins were analyzed by immunoblotting and immunofluorescence.
Dark-field microscopy revealed that lenses of young heterozygous and homozygous Cx46fs380 mice did not have opacities, but they developed anterior nuclear cataracts that became more severe with age. Immunofluorescence and immunoblotting showed that Cx46 was severely reduced in both heterozygous and homozygous Cx46fs380 lenses at 1 month of age, whereas immunoreactive connexin50 (Cx50) was moderately decreased. The reduction in Cx50 became more severe in older lenses. The solubilities of crystallins from young wild-type and fs380 mice were similar, but older fs380 lenses exhibited abnormalities of abundance, solubility, and modification of some crystallins.
Major decreases in connexin levels precede the development of cataracts. These mice represent a useful model for elucidation of the progression of lens abnormalities during cataractogenesis especially as caused by a mutant connexin.
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