Publications by authors named "Wanda Lee Kantorow"

5 Publications

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Chromatin remodeling enzyme Snf2h regulates embryonic lens differentiation and denucleation.

Development 2016 06;143(11):1937-47

Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences and Genetics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA

Ocular lens morphogenesis is a model for investigating mechanisms of cellular differentiation, spatial and temporal gene expression control, and chromatin regulation. Brg1 (Smarca4) and Snf2h (Smarca5) are catalytic subunits of distinct ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complexes implicated in transcriptional regulation. Previous studies have shown that Brg1 regulates both lens fiber cell differentiation and organized degradation of their nuclei (denucleation). Here, we employed a conditional Snf2h(flox) mouse model to probe the cellular and molecular mechanisms of lens formation. Depletion of Snf2h induces premature and expanded differentiation of lens precursor cells forming the lens vesicle, implicating Snf2h as a key regulator of lens vesicle polarity through spatial control of Prox1, Jag1, p27(Kip1) (Cdkn1b) and p57(Kip2) (Cdkn1c) gene expression. The abnormal Snf2h(-/-) fiber cells also retain their nuclei. RNA profiling of Snf2h(-/) (-) and Brg1(-/-) eyes revealed differences in multiple transcripts, including prominent downregulation of those encoding Hsf4 and DNase IIβ, which are implicated in the denucleation process. In summary, our data suggest that Snf2h is essential for the establishment of lens vesicle polarity, partitioning of prospective lens epithelial and fiber cell compartments, lens fiber cell differentiation, and lens fiber cell nuclear degradation.
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June 2016

Chaperone-independent mitochondrial translocation and protection by αB-crystallin in RPE cells.

Exp Eye Res 2013 May 4;110:10-7. Epub 2013 Mar 4.

Biomedical Sciences Department, Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Florida Atlantic University, 777 Glades Rd, Boca Raton, FL 33431, USA.

αB-crystallin is a small heat shock protein that exhibits chaperone activity and can protect multiple cell types against oxidative stress damage. Altered levels and specific mutations of αB-crystallin are associated with multiple degenerative diseases. We previously found that αB-crystallin translocates to lens and retinal cell mitochondria upon oxidative stress exposure where it provides protection against oxidative stress damage. To date, the role of the chaperone function of αB-crystallin in mitochondrial translocation and protection has not been established. Here, we sought to determine the relationship between the chaperone activity of αB-crystallin and its ability to translocate to and protect retinal cell mitochondria against oxidative stress damage. Our data provide evidence that three forms of αB-crystallin exhibiting different chaperone activity levels including wild-type, R120G (decreased chaperone activity) and M68A (increased chaperone activity) provide comparable levels of mitochondrial translocation and protection to retinal cells exposed to oxidative stress. The results provide evidence that mitochondrial translocation and protection by αB-crystallin is independent of its chaperone activity and that other functions of αB-crystallin may also be independent of its chaperone activity.
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May 2013

Spatial expression patterns of autophagy genes in the eye lens and induction of autophagy in lens cells.

Mol Vis 2012 30;18:1773-86. Epub 2012 Jun 30.

Department of Biomedical Science, Florida Atlantic University, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431, USA.

Purpose: Mutation of the autophagy gene FYVE (named after the four cysteine-rich proteins: Fab 1 [yeast orthologue of PIKfyve], YOTB, Vac 1 [vesicle transport protein], and EEA1) and coiled coil containing 1 (fyco1) causes human cataract suggesting a role for autophagy in lens function. Here, we analyzed the range and spatial expression patterns of lens autophagy genes and we evaluated whether autophagy could be induced in lens cells exposed to stress.

Methods: Autophagy gene expression levels and their spatial distribution patterns were evaluated between microdissected human lens epithelium and fibers at the mRNA and protein levels by microarray data analysis, real-time PCR and western blot analysis. Selected autophagy protein spatial expression patterns were also examined in newborn mouse lenses by immunohistochemistry. The autophagosomal content of cultured human lens epithelial cells was determined by counting the number of microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3B (LC3B)-positive puncta in cells cultured in the presence or absence of serum.

Results: A total of 42 autophagy genes were detected as being expressed by human lens epithelium and fibers. The autophagosomal markers LC3B and FYCO1 were detected throughout the newborn mouse lens. Consistently, the autophagy active form of LC3B (LC3B II) was detected in microdissected human lens fibers. An increased number of LC3B-positive puncta was detected in cultured lens cells upon serum starvation suggesting induction of autophagy in lens cells under stress conditions.

Conclusions: The data provide evidence that autophagy is an important component for the function of lens epithelial and fiber cells. The data are consistent with the notion that disruption of lens autophagy through mutation or inactivation of specific autophagy proteins could lead to loss of lens resistance to stress and/or loss of lens differentiation resulting in cataract formation.
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November 2012

αB-crystallin/sHSP protects cytochrome c and mitochondrial function against oxidative stress in lens and retinal cells.

Biochim Biophys Acta 2012 Jul 12;1820(7):921-30. Epub 2012 Apr 12.

Biomedical Sciences Department, Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL, USA.

Background: αB-crystallin/sHSP protects cells against oxidative stress damage. Here, we mechanistically examined its ability to preserve mitochondrial function in lens and retinal cells and protect cytochrome c under oxidative stress conditions.

Methods: αB-crystallin/sHSP was localized in human lens (HLE-B3) and retinal (ARPE-19) cells. αB-crystallin/sHSP was stably over-expressed and its ability to preserve mitochondrial membrane potential under oxidative stress conditions was monitored. Interactions between αB-crystallin/sHSP and cytochrome c were examined by fluorescent resonance energy transfer (FRET) and by co-immune precipitation. The ability of αB-crystallin/sHSP to protect cytochrome c against methionine-80 oxidation was monitored.

Results: αB-crystallin/sHSP is present in the mitochondria of lens and retinal cells and is translocated to the mitochondria under oxidative conditions. αB-crystallin/sHSP specifically interacts with cytochrome c in vitro and in vivo and its overexpression preserves mitochondrial membrane potential under oxidative stress conditions. αB-crystallin/sHSP directly protects cytochrome c against oxidation.

General Significance: These data demonstrate that αB-crystallin/sHSP maintains lens and retinal cells under oxidative stress conditions at least in part by preserving mitochondrial function and by protecting cytochrome c against oxidation. Since oxidative stress and loss of mitochondrial function are associated with eye lens cataract and age-related macular degeneration, loss of these αB-crystallin/sHSP functions likely plays a key role in the development of these diseases. αB-crystallin/sHSP is expressed throughout the body and its ability to maintain mitochondrial function is likely important for the prevention of multiple degenerative diseases.
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July 2012

Mutations in FYCO1 cause autosomal-recessive congenital cataracts.

Am J Hum Genet 2011 Jun;88(6):827-838

Ophthalmic Genetics and Visual Function Branch, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA. Electronic address:

Congenital cataracts (CCs), responsible for about one-third of blindness in infants, are a major cause of vision loss in children worldwide. Autosomal-recessive congenital cataracts (arCC) form a clinically diverse and genetically heterogeneous group of disorders of the crystalline lens. To identify the genetic cause of arCC in consanguineous Pakistani families, we performed genome-wide linkage analysis and fine mapping and identified linkage to 3p21-p22 with a summed LOD score of 33.42. Mutations in the gene encoding FYVE and coiled-coil domain containing 1 (FYCO1), a PI(3)P-binding protein family member that is associated with the exterior of autophagosomes and mediates microtubule plus-end-directed vesicle transport, were identified in 12 Pakistani families and one Arab Israeli family in which arCC had previously been mapped to the overlapping CATC2 region. Nine different mutations were identified, including c.3755 delC (p.Ala1252AspfsX71), c.3858_3862dupGGAAT (p.Leu1288TrpfsX37), c.1045 C>T (p.Gln349X), c.2206C>T (p.Gln736X), c.2761C>T (p.Arg921X), c.2830C>T (p.Arg944X), c.3150+1 G>T, c.4127T>C (p.Leu1376Pro), and c.1546C>T (p.Gln516X). Fyco1 is expressed in the mouse embryonic and adult lens and peaks at P12d. Expressed mutant proteins p.Leu1288TrpfsX37 and p.Gln736X are truncated on immunoblots. Wild-type and p.L1376P FYCO1, the only missense mutant identified, migrate at the expected molecular mass. Both wild-type and p. Leu1376Pro FYCO1 proteins expressed in human lens epithelial cells partially colocalize to microtubules and are found adjacent to Golgi, but they primarily colocalize to autophagosomes. Thus, FYCO1 is involved in lens development and transparency in humans, and mutations in this gene are one of the most common causes of arCC in the Pakistani population.
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June 2011