Charged multivesicular body protein 4b forms complexes with gap junction proteins during lens fiber cell differentiation

Yuefang Zhou, Thomas M. Bennett, Thomas W. White, Alan Shiels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Charged multivesicular body protein 4b (CHMP4B) is a core sub-unit of the endosomal sorting complex required for transport III (ESCRT-III) machinery that serves myriad remodeling and scission processes of biological membranes. Mutation of the human CHMP4B gene underlies rare forms of early-onset lens opacities or cataracts, and CHMP4B is required for lens growth and differentiation in mice. Here, we determine the sub-cellular distribution of CHMP4B in the lens and uncover a novel association with gap junction alpha-3 protein (GJA3) or connexin 46 (Cx46) and GJA8 or Cx50. Immunofluorescence confocal microscopy revealed that CHMP4B localized to cell membranes of elongated fiber cells in the outer cortex of the lens—where large gap junction plaques begin to form—particularly, on the broad faces of these flattened hexagon-like cells in cross-section. Dual immunofluorescence imaging showed that CHMP4B co-localized with gap junction plaques containing Cx46 and/or Cx50. When combined with the in situ proximity ligation assay, immunofluorescence confocal imaging indicated that CHMP4B lay in close physical proximity to Cx46 and Cx50. In Cx46-knockout (Cx46-KO) lenses, CHMP4B-membrane distribution was similar to that of wild-type, whereas, in Cx50-KO lenses, CHMP4B localization to fiber cell membranes was lost. Immunoprecipitation and immunoblotting analyses revealed that CHMP4B formed complexes with Cx46 and Cx50 in vitro. Collectively, our data suggest that CHMP4B forms plasma membrane complexes, either directly and/or indirectly, with gap junction proteins Cx46 and Cx50 that are often associated with “ball-and-socket” double-membrane junctions during lens fiber cell differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere22801
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • ball-and-socket junction
  • connexin 46
  • connexin 50
  • fiber cell
  • gap junction
  • lens


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