Synapsin and synaptic vesicle protein expression during embryonic and post-natal lens fiber cell differentiation

Peter H. Frederikse, Esther Yun, Hung Teh Kao, J. Samuel Zigler, Qian Sun, A. Sami Qazi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose: Reorganization of cytoskeleton and membrane biogenesis are dynamically coordinated during lens fiber cell differentiation and development to produce an organ with precise dimensions and optical properties. Cargo vesicle trafficking is fundamental to cell elongation and has also been implicated in degenerative disease mechanisms. Alzheimer precursor protein (AβPP) acts with kinesin, synapsin, and synaptic vesicle proteins to mediate cargo vesicle transport and membrane fusion in neurons. In our previous studies we demonstrated that AβPP is also a key element in lens fiber cell formation, and in early-onset cataract that occurs along with early-onset Alzheimer disease in Down syndrome. In the present study we examine lens expression and regulation of a complement of genes associated with cargo and synaptic vesicle transport in neurons. Methods: RT-PCR, immunoblot, and immunohistochemical methods were used to characterize expression of AβPP and kinesin associated motor proteins, synapsins, and synaptic vesicle proteins in mouse and rat embryonic, post-natal, and adult lenses. Phospho-specific anti-synapsin antibodies were used to determine the distributions of site-1 phosphorylated and dephosphorylated synapsin protein. Results: We demonstrate that a substantial complement of cargo and synaptic vesicle proteins involved in AβPP mediated vesicle transport are expressed in lenses along the anterior-posterior axis of fiber cells in embryonic and adult lenses, consistent with vesicles, actin filaments, and neuron-like arrangement of microtubules in lenses shown by others. We identify temporal regulation of synapsins I, II, and III during embryonic and post-natal lens development consistent with their roles in neurons. Regulation of vesicle cytoskeleton attachment, actin polymerization, and the capacity to stimulate cell differentiation by synapsins are governed in large part by phosphorylation at a conserved Ser9 residue (site-1). We demonstrate discrete distributions of Ser9 phospho- and dephospho-synapsins along the axial length of rapidly elongating embryonic lens fiber cells, and decreased levels of site-1 phosphorylated synapsins in adult lenses. Conclusions: The present findings demonstrate several fundamental parallels between lens and neuron vesicle trafficking cell biology and development, and suggest that more extensive AβPP related vesicle trafficking disease mechanisms may be shared by lens and brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)794-804
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular vision
Volume10
StatePublished - Oct 25 2004

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

Cite this

Frederikse, P. H., Yun, E., Kao, H. T., Zigler, J. S., Sun, Q., & Qazi, A. S. (2004). Synapsin and synaptic vesicle protein expression during embryonic and post-natal lens fiber cell differentiation. Molecular vision, 10, 794-804.