Lens Development and Crystallin Gene Expression

Ales Cvekl, Rebecca McGreal, Wei Liu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

46 Scopus citations


The eye and lens represent excellent models to understand embryonic development at cellular and molecular levels. Initial 3D formation of the eye depends on a reciprocal invagination of the lens placode/optic vesicle to form the eye primordium, i.e., the optic cup partially surrounding the lens vesicle. Subsequently, the anterior part of the lens vesicle gives rise to the lens epithelium, while the posterior cells of the lens vesicle differentiate into highly elongated lens fibers. Lens fiber differentiation involves cytoskeletal rearrangements, cellular elongation, accumulation of crystallin proteins, production of extracellular matrix for the lens capsule, and degradation of organelles. This chapter summarizes recent advances in lens development and provides insights into the regulatory mechanisms and differentiation at the level of chromatin structure and dynamics, the emerging field of noncoding RNAs, and novel strategies to fill the gaps in our understanding of lens development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMolecular Biology of Eye Disease, 2015
EditorsJohn M. Nickerson, J. Fielding Hejtmancik
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Number of pages39
ISBN (Print)9780128010594
StatePublished - 2015

Publication series

NameProgress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science
ISSN (Print)1877-1173
ISSN (Electronic)1878-0814


  • BMP
  • C-Maf
  • Crystallin
  • Differentiation
  • FGF
  • Hsf4
  • Lens
  • Pax6
  • Six3
  • Sox2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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