CP49 and filensin intermediate filaments are essential for formation of cold cataract

Yuxing Li, Xi Liu, Chun Hong Xia, Paul G. Fitzgerald, Rachel Li, Jessica Wang, Xiaohua Gong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: To investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms of cataract induced by cold temperatures in young lenses of wild-type C57BL/6J (B6), wild-type 129SvJae (129), and filensin knockout (KO) mice. To determine how lens intermediate filament proteins, filensin (BFSP1) and CP49 (BFSP2), are involved in the formation of cold cataract. Methods: The formation of cold cataract was examined in enucleated lenses at different temperatures and was imaged under a dissecting microscope. Lens vibratome sections were prepared, immunostained with different antibodies and fluorescent probes, and then imaged with a laser confocal microscope to evaluate the protein distribution and the membrane and cytoskeleton structures in the lens fibers. Results: Postnatal day 14 (P14) wild-type B6 lenses showed cataracts dependent on cold temperatures in interior fibers about 420–875 µm (zone III) and 245–875 µm (zone II and zone III) from the lens surface, under 25 °C and 4 °C, respectively. In contrast, wild-type 129 (with CP49 gene deletion) and filensin KO (on the B6 background) lenses did not have cold cataracts at 25 °C but displayed a reduced cold cataract, especially in zone III, at 4 °C. Immunofluorescent staining data revealed that CP49 and filensin proteins were uniformly distributed in fiber cell cytosols without cold cataracts but accumulated or aggregated in the cell boundaries of the fibers where cold cataracts appeared. Conclusions: CP49 and filensin are important components for the formation of cold cataract in young B6 mouse lenses. Accumulated or aggregated CP49 and filensin beaded intermediate filaments in fiber cell boundaries might directly or indirectly contribute to the light scattering of cold cataract. Cold cataract in zone II is independent of beaded intermediate filaments. CP49 and filensin intermediate filaments and other lens proteins probably form distinct high molecular organizations to regulate lens transparency in interior fibers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)603-612
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular vision
StatePublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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