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N-cadherin regulates signaling mechanisms required for lens fiber cell elongation and lens morphogenesis

N-cadherin regulates signaling mechanisms required for lens fiber cell elongation and lens morphogenesis

Developmental Biology 428(1): 118-134

ISSN/ISBN: 0012-1606

PMID: 28552735

DOI: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2017.05.022

Tissue development and regeneration involve high-ordered morphogenetic processes that are governed by elements of the cytoskeleton in conjunction with cell adhesion molecules. Such processes are particularly important in the lens whose structure dictates its function. Studies of our lens-specific N-cadherin conditional knockout mouse (N-cadcKO) revealed an essential role for N-cadherin in the migration of the apical tips of differentiating lens fiber cells along the apical surfaces of the epithelium, a region termed the Epithelial Fiber Interface (EFI), that is necessary for normal fiber cell elongation and the morphogenesis. Studies of the N-cadcKO lens suggest that N-cadherin function in fiber cell morphogenesis is linked to the activation of Rac1 and myosin II, both signaling pathways central to the regulation of cell motility including determining the directionality of cellular movement. The absence of N-cadherin did not disrupt lateral contacts between fiber cells during development, and the maintenance of Aquaporin-0 and increased expression of EphA2 at cell-cell interfaces suggests that these molecules may function in this role. E-cadherin was maintained in newly differentiating fiber cells without interfering with expression of lens-specific differentiation proteins but was not able to replace N-cadherin function in these cells. The dependence of migration of the fiber cell apical domains along the EFI for lens morphogenesis on N-cadherin provides new insight into the process of tissue development.

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Accession: 060006110

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