Drebrin, an actin-binding protein, is required for lens morphogenesis and growth.
BACKGROUND: Lens morphogenesis, architecture, and clarity are known to be critically dependent on actin cytoskeleton organization and cell adhesive interactions. There is limited knowledge, however regarding the identity and role of key proteins regulating actin cytoskeletal organization in the lens. This study investigated the role of drebrin, a developmentally regulated actin-binding protein, in mouse lens development by generating and characterizing a conditional knockout (cKO) mouse model using the Cre-LoxP recombination approach. RESULTS: Drebrin E, a splice variant of DBN1 is a predominant isoform expressed in the mouse lens and exhibits a maturation-dependent downregulation. Drebrin co-distributes with actin in both epithelium and fibers. Conditional deficiency (both haploinsufficiency and complete absence) of drebrin results in disrupted lens morphogenesis leading to cataract and microphthalmia. The drebrin cKO lens reveals a dramatic decrease in epithelial height and width, E-cadherin, and proliferation, and increased apoptotic cell death and expression of α-smooth muscle actin, together with severely impaired fiber cell organization, polarity, and cell-cell adhesion. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates the requirement of drebrin in lens development and growth, with drebrin deficiency leading to impaired lens morphogenesis and microphthalmia.
Karnam, S; Maddala, R; Stiber, JA; Rao, PV
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