Deletion of beaded filament proteins or the C-terminal end of Aquaporin 0 causes analogous abnormal distortion aberrations in mouse lens

Kulandaiappan Varadaraj, Paul G. FitzGerald, S. Sindhu Kumari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lens-specific beaded filament (BF) proteins CP49 and filensin interact with the C-terminus of the water channel protein Aquaporin 0 (AQP0). Previously we have reported that a C-terminally end-deleted AQP0-expressing transgenic mouse model AQP0ΔC/ΔC developed abnormal optical aberrations in the lens. This investigation was undertaken to find out whether the total loss of the BF structural proteins alter the optical properties of the lens and cause optical aberrations similar to those in AQP0ΔC/ΔC lenses; also, to map the changes in the optical quality as a function of age in the single or double BF protein knockouts as well as to assess whether there is any significant change in the water channel function of AQP0 in these knockouts. A double knockout mouse (2xKO) model for CP49 and filensin was developed by crossing CP49-KO and filensin-KO mice. Wild type, CP49-KO, filensin-KO, and 2xKO lenses at different ages, and AQP0ΔC/ΔC lenses at postnatal day-17 were imaged through the optical axis and compared for optical quality and focusing property. All three knockout models showed loss of transparency, and development of abnormal optical distortion aberration similar to that in AQP0ΔC/ΔC. Copper grid focusing by the lenses at 6, 9 and 12 months of age showed an increase in aberrations as age advanced. With progression in age, the grid images produced by the lenses of all KO models showed a transition from a positive barrel distortion aberration to a pincushion distortion aberration with the formation of three distinct aberration zones similar to those produced by AQP0ΔC/ΔC lenses. Water permeability of fiber cell membrane vesicles prepared from CP49-KO, filensin-KO and 2xKO models, measured using the osmotic shrinking method, remained similar to that of the wild type without any statistically significant alteration (P > 0.05). Western blotting and quantification revealed the expression of comparable quantities of AQP0 in all three BF protein KOs. Our study reveals that loss of single or both beaded filament proteins significantly affect lens refractive index gradient, transparency and focusing ability in an age-dependent manner and the interaction of BF proteins with AQP0 is critical for the proper functioning of the lens. The presence of BF proteins is necessary to prevent abnormal optical aberrations and maintain homeostasis in the aging lens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108645
JournalExperimental Eye Research
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Abnormal distortion aberration
  • Aquaporin 0
  • Beaded filament
  • Cataract
  • CP49
  • Filensin
  • Lens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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