Histochemistry and Cell Biology

, Volume 128, Issue 6, pp 551–555

Differential expression of the keratan sulphate proteoglycan, keratocan, during chick corneal embryogenesis

  • E. Claire Gealy
  • Briedgeen C. Kerr
  • Robert D. Young
  • Debbie Tudor
  • Anthony J. Hayes
  • Clare E. Hughes
  • Bruce Caterson
  • Andrew J. Quantock
  • James R. Ralphs
Short Communication

Abstract

Keratan sulphate (KS) proteoglycans (PGs) are key molecules in the connective tissue matrix of the cornea of the eye, where they are believed to have functional roles in tissue organisation and transparency. Keratocan, is one of the three KS PGs expressed in cornea, and is the only one that is primarily cornea-specific. Work with the developing chick has shown that mRNA for keratocan is present in early corneal embryogenesis, but there is no evidence of protein synthesis and matrix deposition. Here, we investigate the tissue distribution of keratocan in the developing chick cornea as it becomes compacted and transparent in the later stages of development. Indirect immunofluorescence using a new monoclonal antibody (KER-1) which recognises a protein epitope on the keratocan core protein demonstrated that keratocan was present at all stages investigated (E10–E18), with distinct differences in localisation and organisation observed between early and later stages. Until E13, keratocan appeared both cell-associated and in the stromal extracellular matrix, and was particularly concentrated in superficial tissue regions. By E14 when the cornea begins to become transparent, keratocan was located in elongate arrays, presumably associated along collagen fibrils in the stroma. This fibrillar label was still concentrated in the anterior stroma, and persisted through E15–E18. Presumptive Bowman’s layer was evident as an unlabelled subepithelial zone at all stages. Thus, in embryonic chick cornea, keratocan, in common with sulphated KS chains in the E12–E14 developmental period, exhibits a preferential distribution in the anterior stroma. It undergoes a striking reorganisation of structure and distribution consistent with a role in relation to stromal compaction and corneal transparency.

Keywords

Cornea Keratan sulphate Proteoglycans Glycosaminoglycans 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Claire Gealy
    • 1
  • Briedgeen C. Kerr
    • 1
  • Robert D. Young
    • 2
  • Debbie Tudor
    • 1
  • Anthony J. Hayes
    • 1
  • Clare E. Hughes
    • 1
  • Bruce Caterson
    • 1
  • Andrew J. Quantock
    • 2
  • James R. Ralphs
    • 1
  1. 1.Connective Tissue Biology Laboratories, School of BiosciencesCardiff UniversityCardiffWales, UK
  2. 2.Structural Biophysics Group, School of Optometry and Vision SciencesCardiff UniversityCardiffWales, UK

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