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Eddie Wang, Andrew Geng, Ankur M. Maniar, Byron W. H. Mui, Xiaohua Gong; Connexin 50 Regulates Surface Ball-and-Socket Structures and Fiber Cell Organization. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(7):3039-3046. doi: 10.1167/iovs.16-19521.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The roles of gap junction protein connexin 50 (Cx50) encoded by Gja8, during lens development are not fully understood. Connexin 50 knockout (KO) lenses have decreased proliferation of epithelial cells and altered fiber cell denucleation. We further investigated the mechanism for cellular defects in Cx50 KO (Gja8−/−) lenses.
Fiber cell morphology and subcellular distribution of various lens membrane/cytoskeleton proteins from wild-type and Cx50 KO mice were visualized by immunofluorescent staining and confocal microscopy.
We observed multiple morphological defects in the cortical fibers of Cx50 KO lenses, including abnormal fiber cell packing geometry, decreased F-actin enrichment at tricellular vertices, and disrupted ball-and-socket (BS) structures on the long sides of hexagonal fibers. Moreover, only small gap junction plaques consisting of Cx46 (α3 connexin) were detected in cortical fibers and the distributions of the BS-associated beta-dystroglycan and ZO-1 proteins were altered.
Connexin 50 gap junctions are important for BS structure maturation and cortical fiber cell organization. Connexin 50–based gap junction plaques likely form structural domains with an array of membrane/cytoskeletal proteins to stabilize BS. Loss of Cx50-mediated coupling, BS disruption, and altered F-actin in Cx50 KO fibers, thereby contribute to the small lens and mild cataract phenotypes.
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