The aggregation of crystallins in lenses is associated with cataract formation. We previously reported that mutant crystallins are associated with an increased abundance of histones in knock-in and knockout mouse models. However, very little is known about the specific interactions between lens crystallins and histones. Here, we performed in vitro analyses to determine whether α-crystallin interacts with histones directly. Isothermal titration calorimetry revealed a strong histone–α-crystallin binding with a Kd of 4 × 10−7 M, and the thermodynamic parameters suggested that the interaction was both entropy and enthalpy driven. Size-exclusion chromatography further showed that histone–α-crystallin complexes are water soluble but become water insoluble as the concentration of histones is increased. Right-angle light scattering measurements of the water-soluble fractions of histone–α-crystallin mixtures showed a decrease in the oligomeric molecular weight of α-crystallin, indicating that histones alter the oligomerization of α-crystallin. Taken together, these findings reveal for the first time that histones interact with and affect the solubility and aggregation of α-crystallin, indicating that the interaction between α-crystallin and histones in the lens is functionally important.
- Complex formation