The lens capsule is a thickened basement membrane surrounding the lens which provides essential structural support for lens cells and mediates connection between the lens and the remainder of the eye. Lens capsule components also serve as survival, proliferation and differentiation signals for the attached lens cells although te relative contribution of each extracellular matrix protein found in the lens capsule to lens cell behavior is mostly uncharacterized.. Integrins are major molecules mediating the communication between cells and their extracellular matrix. During the prior grant cycle we discovered that various integrins play essential roles in lens development as well as the pathogenesis of posterior capsular opacification (PCO), the major side effect of surgical cataract removal. However, the mechanisms by which integrins control lens development and the pathogenesis of PCO is not well understood. This application proposes to investigate the molecular mechanisms by which integrins control the fate decisions which regulate transitions from lens epithelial cells to fiber cells during development and "pearl type" PCO as well as transitions between epithelial cells and myofibroblasts during the process of fibrotic PCO development.

Public Health Relevance

The lens capsule is an understudied, but crucial regulator of lens biology. This application seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying its fundamental role in both the regulation of normal lens biology and the conversion of lens epithelial cells to myofibroblasts, a main component of scar tissue. This work will provide fundamental insights into the pathogenesis of after-cataract (posterior capsular opacification), the major side effect of cataract surgery. This will allow us to identify additional molecular targets to prevent this condition which could result in better final visual outcomes for patients.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (BVS)
Program Officer
Araj, Houmam H
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Delaware
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
Zip Code
Mamuya, Fahmy A; Wang, Yan; Roop, Victoria H et al. (2014) The roles of ?V integrins in lens EMT and posterior capsular opacification. J Cell Mol Med 18:656-70
Scheiblin, David A; Gao, Junyuan; Caplan, Jeffrey L et al. (2014) Beta-1 integrin is important for the structural maintenance and homeostasis of differentiating fiber cells. Int J Biochem Cell Biol 50:132-45
Pathania, Mallika; Semina, Elena V; Duncan, Melinda K (2014) Lens extrusion from Laminin alpha 1 mutant zebrafish. ScientificWorldJournal 2014:524929
Mamuya, Fahmy A; Duncan, Melinda K (2012) aV integrins and TGF-ýý-induced EMT: a circle of regulation. J Cell Mol Med 16:445-55
Duncan, Melinda K (2011) Development. A new focus on RNA in the lens. Science 331:1523-4
Firtina, Zeynep; Duncan, Melinda K (2011) Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) is activated during normal lens development. Gene Expr Patterns 11:135-43
Danysh, Brian P; Patel, Tapan P; Czymmek, Kirk J et al. (2010) Characterizing molecular diffusion in the lens capsule. Matrix Biol 29:228-36
Desai, Vivek D; Wang, Yan; Simirskii, Vladimir N et al. (2010) CD44 expression is developmentally regulated in the mouse lens and increases in the lens epithelium after injury. Differentiation 79:111-9
Firtina, Zeynep; Danysh, Brian P; Bai, Xiaoyang et al. (2009) Abnormal expression of collagen IV in lens activates unfolded protein response resulting in cataract. J Biol Chem 284:35872-84
Danysh, Brian P; Duncan, Melinda K (2009) The lens capsule. Exp Eye Res 88:151-64

Showing the most recent 10 out of 19 publications