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Crystallins, genes and cataract

  • Suraj P. Bhat
Part of the Progress in Drug Research book series (PDR, volume 60)

Summary

Far from being a physical entity, assembled of inanimate structural proteins, the ocular lens epitomizes the biological ingenuity that sustains an essential and near-perfect physical system of immaculate optics. Crystallins (α,β, and γ) provide transparency by dint of their high concentration, but it is debatable whether proteins that provide transparency are any different, biologically or structurally, from those that are present in non-transparent structures or tissues. It is becoming increasingly clear that crystallins may have a plethora of metabolic and regulatory functions, both within the lens as well as outside of it. α-Crystallins are members of a small heat shock family of proteins and β/γ-crystallins belong to the family of epidermis-specific differentiation proteins. Crystallin gene expression has been studied from the perspective of the lens specificity of their promoters. Mutations in α-, β-, and γ- crystallins are linked with the phenotype of the loss of transparency. Understanding catalytic, non-structural properties of crystallins may be critical for understanding the malfunction in molecular cascades that lead to cataractogenesis and its eventual therapeutic amelioration.

Key words

Crystallins gene expression promoters Pax6 stress promoter non-crystallin function small heat shock proteins AIM1 protein aggregation cataractogenesis age-related cataract congenital lens epithelium 

Glossary of abbreviations

αA

αA-crystallin

αAins

αA-crystallin(insert)-crystallin

βA

acidic-β-crystallin

αA CRYBP1

αA CRY binding protein 1 (a transcription factor that binds to a promoter sequence in the αA gene)

αB

αB-crystallin

βB

basic-β-crystallin

βH

high molecular mass β-crystallin

βL

low molecular mass β-crystallin

bp

base pair

cHsp

cognate heat shock protein

γA–F

γ-crystallins A–F

γS

γS-crystallin

C/EBP

CCAAT enhancer binding protein

CAT

chloramphenicol acetyl transferase

CHO

Chinese hamster ovary

c-Maf

cellular musculoaponeurotic fibrosarcoma protein (a transcription factor)

COS-1

monkey kidney cells (Cercopithecus aethiops, the African green monkey

CP49

cytoskeletal protein 49 kDa molecular mass

CRE

cyclic AMP Response Element

CREBP/CBP

cyclic AMP response element binding protein

CRYβB1–3

crystallin βB1,2,3

Cx43

connexin 43

Cx46

connexin 46

Cx50

connexin 50

DE1

a sequence element in the αA crystallin promoter

GK

Greek key motif

GSK-3

glycogen synthase kinase-3β

HAT

histone acetyl transferase

HLEC-B3

immortalized human lens epithelial cells-B3

HSE

heat shock element (a sequence in heat shock promoters)

HSF

heat shock factor (a transcription factor)

Hsp 16.5–90

heat shock protein 16.5–90 kDa molecular mass

IgG

immunoglobulin-G

IL-β

interleukin-β

LSR1, 2

lens specific region 1 and 2 found in the αB-crystallin gene promoter

MARE

Maf recognition element (see c-Maf above)

MIP 26

membrane intrinsic protein 26 kDa

NF-κB

nuclear factor kappa-B

NF-IL-6

nuclear factor-interleukin-6

Pax-6

paired box homeodomain-6 protein

Pax-6

paired box homeodomain-6 protein, a transcription factor

PITX3

pituitary X3

pRB

protein retinoblastoma

Prox1

homebox gene related to prospero gene of Drosophila

RARE

retinoic acid-responsive element

sHsp

small heat shock protein

Sox1, 2, 3, Sineoculis 1, 2, 3

a transcription factor

SV40

Simian virus 40

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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suraj P. Bhat
    • 1
  1. 1.Jules Stein Eye Institute and Brain Research InstituteGeffen School of Medicine at UCLALos AngelesUSA

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