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Zhen Wang, Lee S. Cantrell, Kevin L. Schey; Spatially Resolved Proteomic Analysis of the Lens Extracellular Diffusion Barrier. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2021;62(12):25. https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.62.12.25.
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The presence of a physical barrier to molecular diffusion through lenticular extracellular space has been repeatedly detected. This extracellular diffusion barrier has been proposed to restrict the movement of solutes into the lens and to direct nutrients into the lens core via the sutures at both poles. The purpose of this study is to characterize the molecular components that could contribute to the formation of this barrier.
Three distinct regions in the bovine lens cortex were captured by laser capture microdissection guided by dye penetration. Proteins were digested by Lys C and trypsin. Mass spectrometry–based proteomic analysis followed by gene ontology and protein interaction network analysis was performed.
Dye penetration showed that fiber cells first shrink the extracellular spaces of the broad sides followed by closure of the extracellular space between narrow sides at a normalized lens distance (r/a) of 0.9. Accompanying the closure of extracellular space of the broad sides, dramatic proteomic changes were detected, including upregulation of several cell junctional proteins. AQP0 and its interacting partners, Ezrin and Radixin, were among a few proteins that were upregulated, accompanying the closure of extracellular space of the narrow sides, suggesting a particularly important role for AQP0 in controlling the narrowing of the extracellular spaces between fiber cells. The results also provided important information related to biological processes that occur during fiber cell differentiation such as organelle degradation, cytoskeletal remodeling, and glutathione synthesis.
The formation of a lens extracellular diffusion barrier is accompanied by significant membrane and cytoskeletal protein remodeling.
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