{alpha}A-crystallin expression prevents {gamma}-crystallin insolubility and cataract formation in the zebrafish cloche mutant lens

Goishi, K., Shimizu, A., Najarro, G., Watanabe, S., Rogers, R., Zon, L.I., and Klagsbrun, M.
Development (Cambridge, England)   133(13): 2585-2593 (Journal)
Registered Authors
Goishi, Katsutoshi, Watanabe, Sumiko, Zon, Leonard I.
Cataract, Crystallin, Chaperone, Cloche, Eye, Lens, Zebrafish, cryaa
MeSH Terms
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cataract/genetics
  • Cataract/veterinary*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA Primers
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Fish Diseases/genetics*
  • Lens, Crystalline/pathology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Zebrafish
  • Zebrafish Proteins/genetics
  • Zebrafish Proteins/metabolism
  • alpha-Crystallins/genetics*
  • gamma-Crystallins/genetics*
  • gamma-Crystallins/metabolism
16728471 Full text @ Development
Cataracts, the loss of lens transparency, are the leading cause of human blindness. The zebrafish embryo, with its transparency and relatively large eyes, is an excellent model for studying ocular disease in vivo. We found that the zebrafish cloche mutant, both the cloche(m39) and cloche(S5) alleles, which have defects in hematopoiesis and blood vessel development, also have lens cataracts. Quantitative examination of the living zebrafish lens by confocal microscopy showed significant increases in lens reflectance. Histological analysis revealed retention of lens fiber cell nuclei owing to impeded terminal differentiation. Proteomics identified gamma-crystallin as a protein that was substantially diminished in cloche mutants. Crystallins are the major structural proteins in mouse, human and zebrafish lens. Defects in crystallins have previously been shown in mice and humans to contribute to cataracts. The loss of gamma-crystallin protein in cloche was not due to lowered mRNA levels but rather to gamma-crystallin protein insolubility. alphaA-crystallin is a chaperone that protects proteins from misfolding and becoming insoluble. The cloche lens is deficient in both alphaA-crystallin mRNA and protein during development from 2-5 dpf. Overexpression of exogenous alphaA-crystallin rescued the cloche lens phenotype, including solubilization of gamma-crystallin, increased lens transparency and induction of lens fiber cell differentiation. Taken together, these results indicate that alphaA-crystallin expression is required for normal lens development and demonstrate that cataract formation can be prevented in vivo. In addition, these results show that proteomics is a valuable tool for detecting protein alterations in zebrafish.
Genes / Markers
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Mutations / Transgenics
Human Disease / Model
Sequence Targeting Reagents
Engineered Foreign Genes