August 1996
Volume 37, Issue 9
Free
Articles  |   August 1996
Immunodetection of connexins and cadherins in corneal fibroblasts and myofibroblasts.
Author Affiliations
  • S Petridou
    Department of Ophthalmology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029-6574, USA.
  • S K Masur
    Department of Ophthalmology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029-6574, USA.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science August 1996, Vol.37, 1740-1748. doi:
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      S Petridou, S K Masur; Immunodetection of connexins and cadherins in corneal fibroblasts and myofibroblasts.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1996;37(9):1740-1748.

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Abstract

PURPOSE: In normal cornea, stromal fibroblasts (keratocytes) interact with one another by gap junctions. After corneal wounding, the remaining corneal stroma cells are phenotypically fibroblasts and myofibroblasts. For insight into the respective roles of fibroblasts and myofibroblasts in wound healing, the authors have investigated the molecular basis of cell-cell interaction in cultures of corneal fibroblasts and corneal myofibroblasts. METHODS: Using Western blot analysis and immunofluorescent microscopy, the authors determined the relative expression and localization of junction proteins-connexins, cadherins, and cadherin-associated proteins (catenins)-in cultured fibroblasts and myofibroblasts. RESULTS: In cultured corneal fibroblasts, the gap junction protein, connexin 43, was highly expressed and was localized to dense maculae; cadherins were not detected in cell-cell contacts. Cultured myofibroblasts showed the opposite pattern: Cadherins were highly expressed and localized at the cell-cell contacts, whereas myofibroblast connexin 43 was primarily intracellular. Myofibroblast cadherin was identified by a pan-cadherin antibody as a molecule of 135 kDa that reacted weakly with an N-cadherin monoclonal antibody. In addition, cadherin-associated cytoplasmic proteins, alpha- and beta-catenins, co-localized with cadherin at the cell-cell borders of the myofibroblasts. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of connexin 43 at the cell-cell borders of corneal fibroblasts is consistent with a primary communication role of junctions in confluent corneal fibroblasts. In contrast, the presence of cadherin at the cell-cel borders of myofibroblasts may provide a site for insertion of actin filaments. A cadherin-actin association could support actin-based force generation for effective wound closure.

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