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Nat Genet. 1999 Mar;21(3):318-22.

Prox1 function is crucial for mouse lens-fibre elongation.

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Department of Genetics, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee 38105, USA.


Although insights have emerged regarding genes controlling the early stages of eye formation, little is known about lens-fibre differentiation and elongation. The expression pattern of the Prox1 homeobox gene suggests it has a role in a variety of embryonic tissues, including lens. To analyse the requirement for Prox1 during mammalian development, we inactivated the locus in mice. Homozygous Prox1-null mice die at mid-gestation from multiple developmental defects; here we describe the specific effect on lens development. Prox1 inactivation causes abnormal cellular proliferation, downregulated expression of the cell-cycle inhibitors Cdkn1b (also known as p27KIP1) and Cdkn1c (also known as p57KIP2), misexpression of E-cadherin and inappropriate apoptosis. Consequently, mutant lens cells fail to polarize and elongate properly, resulting in a hollow lens. Our data provide evidence that the progression of terminal fibre differentiation and elongation is dependent on Prox1 activity during lens development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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