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1.  The Unfolded Protein Response is activated in Connexin 50 mutant mouse lenses 
Experimental eye research  2012;102:28-37.
The unfolded protein response is a set of cell signaling pathways recently recognized to be activated in the lens during both normal development and endoplasmic reticulum stress induced by either unfolded proteins or oxidative damage. While mutations in the gene for connexin 50 are known to cause autosomal dominant cataracts, it has not been previously reported whether mutant connexins can activate the unfolded protein response in the lens. Mice homozygous for the S50P or G22R mutation of connexin 50 have reduced amounts of connexin 50 protein at the cell membrane, with some intracellular staining consistent with retention in the endoplasmic reticulum. Connexin 50 mutants have elevated levels of BiP expression in both lens epithelial and fiber cells from E15.5 with the most robust elevation detected in newborns. While this elevation decreases in magnitude postnatally, BiP expression is still abnormally high in adults, particularly in the perinuclear endoplasmic reticulum of cell nuclei that are inappropriately retained in adult homozygous mutant lenses. Xbp1 splicing was elevated in lenses from both connexin mutants studied, while Atf4 and Atf6 levels were not majorly affected. Overall, these data suggest that UPR may be a contributing factor to the phenotype of connexin 50 mutant lenses even though the relatively modest extent of the response suggests that it is unlikely to be a major driver of the pathology.
PMCID: PMC3461258  PMID: 22713599
UPR; BiP; Cataract; Connexin 50
2.  An Evi1-C/EBPβ Complex Controls Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor γ2 Gene Expression To Initiate White Fat Cell Differentiation 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2012;32(12):2289-2299.
Fibroblastic preadipocyte cells are recruited to differentiate into new adipocytes during the formation and hyperplastic growth of white adipose tissue. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ), the master regulator of adipogenesis, is expressed at low levels in preadipocytes, and its levels increase dramatically and rapidly during the differentiation process. However, the mechanisms controlling the dynamic and selective expression of PPARγ in the adipocyte lineage remain largely unknown. We show here that the zinc finger protein Evi1 increases in preadipocytes at the onset of differentiation prior to increases in PPARγ levels. Evi1 expression converts nonadipogenic cells into adipocytes via an increase in the predifferentiation levels of PPARγ2, the adipose-selective isoform of PPARγ. Conversely, loss of Evi1 in preadipocytes blocks the induction of PPARγ2 and suppresses adipocyte differentiation. Evi1 binds with C/EBPβ to regulatory sites in the Pparγ locus at early stages of adipocyte differentiation, coincident with the induction of Pparγ2 expression. These results indicate that Evi1 is a key regulator of adipogenic competency.
PMCID: PMC3372274  PMID: 22473998
3.  Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) is activated during normal lens development 
Gene expression patterns : GEP  2010;11(1-2):135-143.
The lens of the eye is a transparent structure responsible for focusing light onto the retina. It is composed of two morphologically different cell types, epithelial cells found on the anterior surface and the fiber cells that are continuously formed by the differentiation of epithelial cells at the lens equator. The differentiation of an epithelial precursor cell into a fiber cell is associated with a dramatic increase in membrane protein synthesis. How the terminally differentiating fiber cells cope with the increased demand on the endoplasmic reticulum for this membrane protein synthesis is not known. In the present study, we have found evidence of Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) activation during normal lens development and differentiation in the mouse. The ER-resident chaperones, immunoglobulin heavy chain binding protein (BiP) and protein disulfide isomerase (PDI), were expressed at high levels in the newly forming fiber cells of embryonic lenses. These fiber cells also expressed the UPR-associated molecules; XBP1, ATF6, phospho-PERK and ATF4 during embryogenesis. Moreover, spliced XBP1, cleaved ATF6, and phospho-eIF2 were detected in embryonic mouse lenses suggesting that UPR pathways are active in this tissue. These results propose a role for UPR activation in lens fiber cell differentiation during embryogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3039068  PMID: 21044701

Results 1-3 (3)