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Qingxian Lu, Yingnan Zhang, Ramesh Babu Kasetti, Subhash Gaddipati, Naresh Kumar CVM, Douglas Borchman, Qiutang Li; Heterozygous Loss of Yap1 in Mice Causes Progressive Cataracts. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2020;61(12):21. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.61.12.21.
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Yap1 encodes an evolutionarily conserved transcriptional coactivator and functions as a down-stream effector of the Hippo signaling pathway that controls tissue size and cell growth. Yap1 contributes to lens epithelial development. However, the effect of Yap1 haplodeficiency on the lens epithelium and its role in the development of cataracts has not been reported. The aim of the current study is to investigate Yap1 function and its regulatory mechanisms in lens epithelial cells (LECs).
Lens phenotypes were investigated in Yap1 heterozygous mutant mice by visual observation and histological and biochemical methods. Primary LEC cultures were used to study regulatory molecular mechanism.
The heterozygous inactivation of Yap1 in mice caused cataracts during adulthood with defective LEC phenotypes. Despite a normal early development of the eye including the lens, the majority of Yap1 heterozygotes developed cataracts in the first six months of age. Cataract was preceded by multiple morphological defects in the lens epithelium, including decreased cell density and abnormal cell junctions. The low LEC density was coincident with reduced LEC proliferation. In addition, expression of the Yap1 target gene Crim1 was reduced in the Yap1+/− LEC, and overexpression of Crim1 restored Yap1+/− LEC cell proliferation in vitro.
Homozygosity of the Yap1 gene was critical for adequate Crim1 expression needed to maintain the constant proliferation of LEC and to maintain a normal-sized lens. Yap1 haplodeficiency leads to cataracts.
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