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1.  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
2.  Differential expression of the HMGN family of chromatin proteins during ocular development 
Gene expression patterns : GEP  2008;8(6):433-437.
The HMGN proteins are a group of non-histone nuclear proteins that associate with the core nucleosome and alter the structure of the chromatin fiber. We investigated the distribution of the three best characterized HMGN family members, HMGN1, HMGN2 and HMGN3 during mouse eye development. HMGN1 protein is evenly distributed in all ocular structures of 10.5 days post coitum (dpc) mouse embryos however, by 13.5 dpc, relatively less HMGN1 is detected in the newly formed lens fiber cells compared to other cell types. In the adult, HMGN1 is detected throughout the retina and lens, although in the cornea, HMGN1 protein is predominately located in the epithelium. HMGN2 is also abundant in all ocular structures of mouse embryos, however, unlike HMGN1, intense immunolabeling is maintained in the lens fiber cells at 13.5 dpc. In the adult eye, HMGN2 protein is still found in all lens nuclei while in the cornea, HMGN2 protein is mostly restricted to the epithelium. In contrast, the first detection of HMGN3 in the eye is in the presumptive corneal epithelium and lens fiber cells at 13.5 dpc. In the lens, HMGN3 remained lens fiber cell preferred into adulthood. In the cornea, HMGN3 is transiently upregulated in the stroma and endothelium at birth while its expression is restricted to the corneal epithelium in adulthood. In the retina, HMGN3 upregulates around two weeks of age and is found at relatively high levels in the inner nuclear and ganglion cell layers of the adult retina. RT-PCR analysis determined that the predominant HMGN3 splice form found in ocular tissues is HMGN3b which lacks the chromatin unfolding domain although HMGN3a mRNA is also detected. These results demonstrate that the HMGN class of chromatin proteins has a dynamic expression pattern in the developing eye.
PMCID: PMC2525792  PMID: 18502697

Results 1-2 (2)