Rap1 GTPase is required for mouse lens epithelial maintenance and morphogenesis.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Rap1, a Ras-like small GTPase, plays a crucial role in cell-matrix adhesive interactions, cell-cell junction formation, cell polarity and migration. The role of Rap1 in vertebrate organ development and tissue architecture, however, remains elusive. We addressed this question in a mouse lens model system using a conditional gene targeting approach. While individual germline deficiency of either Rap1a or Rap1b did not cause overt defects in mouse lens, conditional double deficiency (Rap1 cKO) prior to lens placode formation led to an ocular phenotype including microphthalmia and lens opacification in embryonic mice. The embryonic Rap1 cKO mouse lens exhibited striking defects including loss of E-cadherin- and ZO-1-based cell-cell junctions, disruption of paxillin and β1-integrin-based cell adhesive interactions along with abnormalities in cell shape and apical-basal polarity of epithelium. These epithelial changes were accompanied by increased levels of α-smooth muscle actin, vimentin and N-cadherin, and expression of transcriptional suppressors of E-cadherin (Snai1, Slug and Zeb2), and a mesenchymal metabolic protein (Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase). Additionally, while lens differentiation was not overtly affected, increased apoptosis and dysregulated cell cycle progression were noted in epithelium and fibers in Rap1 cKO mice. Collectively these observations uncover a requirement for Rap1 in maintenance of lens epithelial phenotype and morphogenesis.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Maddala, R; Nagendran, T; Lang, RA; Morozov, A; Rao, PV

Published Date

  • October 1, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 406 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 74 - 91

PubMed ID

  • 26212757

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4587029

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1095-564X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.ydbio.2015.06.022


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States