Defects affecting tissues of the anterior segment (AS) of the eye lead to a group of highly debilitating disorders called Anterior Segment Dysgenesis (ASD). Despite the identification of some causative genes, the pathogenesis of ASD remains unclear. Interestingly, several ciliopathies display conditions of the AS. Using conditional targeting of Ift88 with Wnt1-Cre, we show that primary cilia of neural crest cells (NCC), precursors of most AS structures, are indispensable for normal AS development and their ablation leads to ASD conditions including abnormal corneal dimensions, defective iridocorneal angle, reduced anterior chamber volume and corneal neovascularization. Mechanistically, NCC cilia ablation abolishes hedgehog (Hh) signaling in the periocular mesenchyme (POM) canonically activated by choroid-secreted Indian Hh, reduces proliferation of POM cells surrounding the retinal pigment epithelium and decreases the expression of Foxc1 and Pitx2, two transcription factors identified as major ASD causative genes. Thus, we uncovered a signaling axis linking cilia and ASD.
- Eye disease
- Hedgehog signaling
- Neural crest
- Primary cilia
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)