Genetic variations in ephrin type-A receptor 2 (EPHA2) have been associated with inherited and age-related forms of cataract in humans. Here, we have characterized the eye lens phenotype and transcript profile of germline Epha2 knock-in mutant mice homozygous for either a missense variant associated with age-related cataract in humans (Epha2-Q722) or a novel insertion-deletion mutation (Epha2-indel722) that were both located within the tyrosine-kinase domain of EPHA2. Confocal imaging of ex vivo lenses from Epha2-indel722 mice on a fluorescent reporter background revealed misalignment of epithelial-to-fiber cell meridional-rows at the lens equator and severe disturbance of Y-suture formation at the lens poles, whereas Epha2-Q722 lenses displayed mild disturbance of posterior sutures. Immunofluorescent labeling showed that EPHA2 was localized to radial columns of hexagonal fiber cell membranes in Epha2-Q722 lenses, whereas Epha2-indel722 lenses displayed disorganized radial cell columns and cytoplasmic retention of EPHA2. Immunopre-cipitation/blotting studies indicated that EPHA2 formed strong complexes with Src kinase and was mostly serine phosphorylated in the lens. RNA sequencing analysis revealed differential expression of several cytoskeleton-associated genes in Epha2-mutant and Epha2-null lenses including shared downregulation of Lgsn and Clic5. Collectively, our data suggest that mutations within the tyrosine-kinase domain of EPHA2 result in lens cell patterning defects and dysregulated expression of several cytoskeleton-associated proteins.
- Cell patterning
- Ephrin receptor