The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 36: 363 - 372 (1992)

Vol 36, Issue 3

Localization of delta-crystallin RNA during lens morphogenesis and differentiation in the normal and talpid3 chick embryo

Published: 30 November -0001

M W Head, E L Triplett, D A Ede and R M Clayton

Institute of Cell, Animal and Population Biology, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.


Embryonic lens fiber cell differentiation in the chick is marked by the accumulation of delta-crystallin protein. The levels of delta-crystallin RNA are shown here to rise dramatically in the cells of the posterior lens pit prior to their elongation and differentiation as lens fibers. This increase correlates with regional proximity to the underlying optic cup (future retina). This accumulation of delta-crystallin RNA during lens induction operates selectively on the delta 1-crystallin transcripts whereas delta 2-crystallin/argininsosuccinate lyase RNA is detectable at lower levels in all developing ocular tissues throughout this period. The talpid3 mutant forms a flat "bridge" of thickened placode-like cells in the head epithelium between the two lens placodes, and this bridge also accumulates delta 1-crystallin RNA, suggesting that the selective increase in delta 1-crystallin RNA levels over those of delta 2-crystallin represents an early event in cellular commitment to lens fiber differentiation in the chick. The significance of the sequence of temporal changes in inductive sources for lens fiber formation is discussed, and we propose that the role of the optic cup is to provide, bound to its extra-cellular material (ECM), a high local concentration of the same growth factors which act as fiber inducers in the older eye.

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