Expression of βa3/A1-crystallin in the developing and adult rat eye

Geetha Parthasarathy, Bo Ma, Cheng Zhang, Celine Gongora, J. Samuel Zigler, Melinda K. Duncan, Debasish Sinha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Crystallins are very abundant structural proteins of the lens and are also expressed in other tissues. We have previously reported a spontaneous mutation in the rat βA3/A1-crystallin gene, termed Nuc1, which has a novel, complex, ocular phenotype. The current study was undertaken to compare the expression pattern of this gene during eye development in wild type and Nuc1 rats by in situ hybridization (ISH) and immunohistochemistry (IHC). βA3/A1-crystallin expression was first detected in the eyes of both wild type and Nuc1 rats at embryonic (E) day 12.5 in the posterior portion of the lens vesicle, and remained limited to the lens fibers throughout fetal life. After birth, βA3/A1-crystallin expression was also detected in the neural retina (specifically in the astrocytes and ganglion cells) and in the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE). This suggested that βA3/A1-crystallin is not only a structural protein of the lens, but has cellular function(s) in other ocular tissues. In summary, expression of βA3/A1-crystallin is controlled differentially in various eye tissues with lens being the site of greatest expression. Similar staining patterns, detected by ISH and IHC, in wild type and Nuc1 animals suggest that functional differences in the protein, rather than changes in mRNA/protein level of expression, likely account for developmental abnormalities in Nuc1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-69
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Molecular Histology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Astrocytes
  • Eye development
  • Ganglion cells
  • In situ hybridization
  • Lens
  • Retina
  • βA3/A1crystallin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Histology
  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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