By Eric Craypo
National Eye Institute
Cataractogenesis, Connexin Mutants and Genetic Modifier(s)
PI: Xiaohua Gong
The eye lens is a syncytial unit coupled by gap junctions; our vision depends on its optical and mechanical properties, such as transparency, refractive index, stiffness and accommodation. This proposal will evaluate a new hypothesis that these properties are achieved through the coordinated roles of gap junctions and cytoskeletal components during lens morphogenesis. Aging, genetic variances and other factors can trigger the pathological conditions in lens cells leading to cataracts, which remain as the leading cause of blindness in the world. Genetic variances of membrane/cytoskeletal proteins influence lens transparency and biomechanics. This research proposal will examine this new hypothesis and expand our knowledge of cataract etiology and prevention.