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Mol Vis. 2013;19:254-66. Epub 2013 Feb 3.

Further analysis of the lens of ephrin-A5-/- mice: development of postnatal defects.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Biology, Susan Lehman-Cullman Laboratory for Cancer Research, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA.



The cells of the mammalian lens must be carefully organized and regulated to maintain clarity. Recent studies have identified the Eph receptor ligand ephrin-A5 as a major contributor to lens development, as mice lacking ephrin-A5 develop abnormal lenses, resulting in cataracts. As a follow-up to our previous study on the cataracts observed in ephrin-A5(-/-) animals, we have further examined the morphological and molecular changes in the ephrin-A5(-/-) lens.


Wild-type and ephrin-A5(-/-) eyes at various ages were fixed, sectioned, and examined using histological techniques. Protein expression and localization were determined using immunohistochemistry and western blot analysis.


Lens abnormalities in the ephrin-A5(-/-) animals are observed at postnatal stages, with lens opacity occurring by postnatal day 21. Structural defects in the lens are first observed in the outer lens fiber cell region where cells in the ephrin-A5(-/-) lens are severely disorganized. Ephrin-A5 and the Eph receptor EphA2 are expressed during early ocular development and continue to be expressed into postnatal stages. The cataracts in the ephrin-A5(-/-) mutants occur regardless of the presence of the CP49 mutation.


In this follow-up study, we have uncovered additional details explicating the mechanisms underlying ephrin-A5 function in the lens. Furthermore, elucidation of the expression of ephrin-A5 and the Eph receptor EphA2 in the lens supports a fundamental role for this receptor-ligand complex in lens development. These observations, in concert with our previous study, strongly suggest that ephrin-A5 has a critical role in postnatal lens fiber organization to maintain lens transparency.

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