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Mech Dev. 2006 Nov;123(11):793-800. Epub 2006 Sep 1.

Determinative role of Wnt signals in dorsal iris-derived lens regeneration in newt eye.

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  • 1Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University, 1-3 Yamadaoka, Suita-shi, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.


We have previously shown that lens regeneration from the pigmented epithelium of the dorsal iris in the adult newt eye proceeds in two steps after lens removal or intraocular FGF2 injection. The FGF2-dependent proliferation of iris pigmented epithelium and activation of early lens genes that occur over the entire circumference of the iris comprise the first step, while subsequent dorsally confined lens development marks the second step. Here, we investigated the expression of Wnt and Wnt receptor Frizzled genes in lens-regenerating iris tissues. Wnt2b and Frizzled4 were activated only in the dorsal half of the iris in synchrony with the occurrence of the second step, whereas Wnt5a and Frizzled2 were activated in both halves throughout the period of the first and second steps. Cultured explants of the iris-derived pigmented epithelium in the presence of FGF2 underwent dorsal-specific lens development fully recapitulating the in vivo lens regeneration process. Under these conditions, Wnt inhibitors Dkk1, which specifically inhibits the canonical signal pathway, and/or sFRP1 repressed the lens development, while exogenous Wnt3a, which generally activates the canonical pathway like Wnt2b, stimulated lens development from the dorsal iris epithelium and even caused lens development from the ventral iris epithelium, albeit at a reduced rate. Wnt5a did not elicit lens development from the ventral epithelium. These observations indicate that dorsal-specific activation of Wnt2b determines the dorsally limited development of lens from the iris pigmented epithelium.

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