May 2007
Volume 48, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   May 2007
Signaling Through the Type I BMP Receptor, Alk2, Regulates Withdrawal of Lens Fiber Cells From the Cell Cycle
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • R. Rajagopal
    Ophthalmology, Washington Univ Sch of Medicine, Saint Louis, Missouri
  • L. K. Dattilo
    Ophthalmology, Washington Univ Sch of Medicine, Saint Louis, Missouri
  • V. Kaartinen
    Developmental Biology, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
  • D. C. Beebe
    Ophthalmology, Washington Univ Sch of Medicine, Saint Louis, Missouri
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships R. Rajagopal, None; L.K. Dattilo, None; V. Kaartinen, None; D.C. Beebe, None.
  • Footnotes
    Support EY04853, an unrestricted grant from Research to Prevent Blindness and core grant EY02687
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science May 2007, Vol.48, 4232. doi:
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      R. Rajagopal, L. K. Dattilo, V. Kaartinen, D. C. Beebe; Signaling Through the Type I BMP Receptor, Alk2, Regulates Withdrawal of Lens Fiber Cells From the Cell Cycle. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2007;48(13):4232.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose:: To determine the effects of deleting the type-I bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) receptor, Alk2, in the lens.

Methods:: Lenses lacking Alk2, Smad4, Smad1, Smad5 or Alk2 and p53 were generated by mating the respectivefloxed mice with mice expressing Cre recombinase in the lens (LeCre). Postnatal day 3 (P3) mice or pregnant females were injected with BrdU (50 mg /kg) and sacrificed 1 hour later. Whole embryos or heads were fixed in 10% formalin, embedded in paraffin, sectioned, treated for antigen retrieval and labeled with antibodies to Ki67, BrdU, phospho-Histone H3, p57 or c-maf or using the TUNEL assay.

Results:: In wild-type lens epithelia, the percentage of proliferating cells declines from ~40% at embryonic day 12.5 to ~18% by P3. Most of this decline occurs in the central epithelium and in the transition zone, a region of the epithelium that lies near the lens equator between the germinative zone and the lens fiber cells. As a result, cell proliferation is progressively restricted to the germinative zone. Alk2CKO lenses appeared smaller at E12.5 but were otherwise morphologically normal. In later development, cells in the transition zone failed to decrease their rate of proliferation, as measured by the BrdU (cells in S-phase) or Ki67 (a marker of all cycling cells) labeling index. A few Alk2CKO fibers also expressed Ki67, incorporated BrdU, expressed phospho-Histone H3 (a marker for mitotic cells) and failed to express the Cdk inhibitor, p57, which is present in all wild-type fiber cells as they exit from cell cycle. The failure of fiber cells and cells in the transition zone to exit from cell cycle was also seen in lenses lacking Co-Smad, Smad4, or R-Smads, Smad5 or Smad1, suggesting that the ability of Alk2 signaling to promote withdrawal from the cell cycle is mediated by these Smads. Although some Alk2CKO fibers failed to withdraw from cell cycle, they expressed c-maf, a transcription factor that is present in differentiated fiber cells. Alk2CKO lenses also showed increased cell death in the transition zone and in the fiber compartment, suggesting that failure of these cells to exit from cell cycle triggers apoptosis. This apoptosis is mediated by p53 as it is rescued in the Alk2; p53DCKO lenses.

Conclusions:: BMP signaling through Alk2 and the canonical Smad signaling pathway contributes to cessation of cell proliferation during lens fiber cell terminal differentiation. Failure of appropriate cell cycle exit triggers apoptosis in a p53-dependent manner.

Keywords: growth factors/growth factor receptors • differentiation • cell survival 

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