The stratified syncytium of the vertebrate lens

Yanrong Shi, Kelly Barton, Alicia De Maria, J. Mark Petrash, Alan Shiels, Steven Bassnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations

Abstract

The fusion of cells to generate syncytial tissues is a crucial event in the development of many organisms. In the lens of the vertebrate eye, proteins and other macromolecules diffuse from cell to cell via the large molecule diffusion pathway (LMDP). We used the tamoxifen-induced expression of GFP to investigate the nature and role of the LMDP in living, intact lenses. Our data indicate that the LMPD preferentially connects cells lying within a stratum of the lens cortex and that formation of the LMPD depends on the expression of Lim2, a claudin-like molecule. The conduits for intercellular protein exchange are most likely regions of partial cellular fusion, which are commonly observed in wild-type lenses but rare or absent in Lim2-deficient lenses. The observation that lens tissue constitutes a stratified syncytium has implications for the transparency, refractive function and pathophysiology of the tissue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1607-1615
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of cell science
Volume122
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - May 15 2009

Keywords

  • Confocal microscopy
  • Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy
  • Green fluorescent protein
  • Lens
  • Lim2
  • Syncytium

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The stratified syncytium of the vertebrate lens'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this