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Expression of autophagy transcripts and proteins in the ocular lens suggests a role for autophagy in lens cell and cellular differentiation [electronic resource] /

Publication Date
  • Cell Differentiation.
  • Protein Binding
  • Cellular Control Mechanisms.
  • Apoptosis.
  • Chemistry


The lens is an avascular organ that focuses light onto the retina where neural signals are transmitted to the brain and translated into images. Lens transparency is vital for maintaining function. The lens is formed through a transition from organelle-rich epithelial cells to organelle-free fiber cells. Lens cell differentiation, leading to the lack of organelles, provides an environment optimal for minimizing light scatter and maximizing the ability to focus light onto the retina. The process responsible for orchestrating lens cell differentiation has yet to be elucidated. In recent years, data has emerged that led our lab to hypothesize that autophagy is likely involved in lens cell maintenance, cell differentiation, and maintenance of lens transparency. As a first step towards testing this hypothesis, we used RT-PCR, western blot analysis, immunohistochemistry, confocal microscopy, and next generation RNA-Sequencing (RNA-Seq) to examine autophagy genes expressed by the lens to begin mapping their lens function.

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