Keratin 12 mRNA expression could serve as an early corneal marker for limbal explant cultures.
ABSTRACT: This investigation aimed to identify early corneal marker and conjunctival epithelial differentiation through transcriptional analysis of limbal explant cultures and study early differentiation patterns of known corneal and conjunctival differentiation markers. 2 mm punch biopsies of limbal region were obtained from 6 donors of the Lions Cornea Bank Saar-Lorloux/Trier-Westpfalz. Limbal explants were dissected into corneal and conjunctival biopsy sections. Biopsies were placed with epithelial side down into 12 Wells. As soon as the outgrowing cells had reached confluence, they were harvested. mRNA expression of corneal differentiation markers KRT12, KRT3, DSG1, PAX6, ADH7 and ALDH1A1, conjunctival markers KRT19, KRT13 and stem cell marker ABCG2 were measured via qPCR. KRT12 and PAX6 protein expressions were evaluated using Western Blot. Results suggested that KRT12 mRNA expression was significantly higher in outgrowing cells from the corneal side of the biopsies as in those from the conjunctival side (p?=?0.0043). There was no significant difference in mRNA expression of other analyzed markers comparing with marker expression of outgrown cells from both limbal biopsies (p?>?0.13). KRT12 and PAX6 Western Blot analysis showed no difference in cells harvested from both sides. In conclusion, KRT12 mRNA might be a marker to measure corneal origin of cells from limbal biopsies with unknown composition of corneal and conjunctival progenitor cells. KRT3, DSG1, PAX6, ADH7, ALDH1A1, KRT19, KRT13 and ABCG2 mRNA as well as KRT12 and PAX6 protein expression could not contribute to differentiate corneal from conjunctival cell identity from limbal biopsies.
Project description:PAX6 is the key transcription factor involved in eye development in humans, but the differential functions of the two PAX6 isoforms, isoform-a and isoform-b, are largely unknown. To reveal their function in the corneal epithelium, PAX6 isoforms, along with reprogramming factors, were transduced into human non-ocular epithelial cells. Herein, we show that the two PAX6 isoforms differentially and cooperatively regulate the expression of genes specific to the structure and functions of the corneal epithelium, particularly keratin 3 (KRT3) and keratin 12 (KRT12). PAX6 isoform-a induced KRT3 expression by targeting its upstream region. KLF4 enhanced this induction. A combination of PAX6 isoform-b, KLF4, and OCT4 induced KRT12 expression. These new findings will contribute to furthering the understanding of the molecular basis of the corneal epithelium specific phenotype.
Project description:Meesmann epithelial corneal dystrophy (MECD) is a rare dominantly inherited disorder that is characterized by corneal epithelial microcysts and is associated with mutations in the keratin 3 (KRT3) and keratin 12 (KRT12) genes. In this study, we report a novel mutation in the KRT12 gene in a Vietnamese pedigree with MECD. Slit-lamp examination was performed on each of the 7 recruited members of a Vietnamese family to identify characteristic features of MECD. After informed consent was obtained from each individual, genomic DNA was isolated from saliva samples and screening of KRT3and KRT12 genes was performed by Sanger sequencing. The proband, a 31-year-old man, complained of a 1-year history of eye irritation and photophobia. Slit-lamp examination revealed intraepithelial microcysts involving only the corneal periphery in each eye with clear central corneas and no stromal or endothelial involvement. Three family members demonstrated similar intraepithelial microcysts, but with diffuse involvement, extended from limbus to limbus. Sanger sequencing of KRT3 (exon 7) and KRT12 (exons 1 and 6) in the proband revealed a novel heterozygous KRT12 variant (c.1273G>A [p.Glu425Lys]) that was present in the three affected family members but was absent in the three family members with clear corneas. This study is the first report of a Vietnamese family affected with MECD, associated with an atypical peripheral corneal epithelial phenotype in the proband and a novel mutation in KRT12.
Project description:PURPOSE: Juvenile epithelial corneal dystrophy of Meesmann (MCD, OMIM 122100) is a dominantly inherited disorder characterized by fragility of the anterior corneal epithelium and intraepithelial microcyst formation. Although the disease is generally mild and affected individuals are often asymptomatic, some suffer from recurrent erosions leading to lacrimation, photophobia, and deterioration in visual acuity. MCD is caused by mutations in keratin 3 (KRT3) or keratin 12 (KRT12) genes, which encode cornea-specific cytoskeletal proteins. Seventeen mutations in KRT12 and two in KRT3 have been described so far. The purpose of this study was to investigate the genetic background of MCD in a Polish family. METHODS: We report on a three-generation family with MCD. Epithelial lesions characteristic for MCD were visualized with slit-lamp examination and confirmed by in vivo confocal microscopy. Using genomic DNA as a template, all coding regions of KRT3 and KRT12 were amplified and sequenced. Presence of the mutation was verified with restriction endonuclease digestion. RESULTS: In the proband, direct sequencing of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) product from amplified coding regions of KRT3 and KRT12 revealed a novel 1493A>T heterozygous missense mutation in exon 7 of KRT3, which predicts the substitution of glutamic acid for valine at codon 498 (E498V). Using PCR-Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP) analysis, the mutation was demonstrated to segregate with the disease (four affected members, three non-affected) and to be absent in 100 controls from the Polish population, indicating that it is not a common polymorphism. CONCLUSIONS: Location of the E498V mutation emphasizes the functional relevance of the highly conserved boundary motifs at the COOH-terminus of the alpha-helical rod domain in keratin 3 (K3).
Project description:Limbal epithelial stem cell deficiency is caused by exposure of the cornea to thermal, chemical, or radiation burns or by diseases (aniridia and Stevens-Johnson syndrome). Autologous cell transplantation is a widely used therapeutic modality for restoring the corneal surface in such pathological conditions. Ex vivo cultured limbal, conjunctival, and oral biopsies have been widely used to reconstruct the corneal surface with variable outcomes. Culture characterization of the ex vivo cultured cells would provide insight and clues into the underlying signaling mechanisms that would aid in determining the probable transplantation outcome. Comparison of the vital proteins and genes among the three ex vivo cultured tissues has implications in clinical practice. To address this issue, we characterized and compared the proliferative and differentiated properties of ex vivo cultured limbal, conjunctival, and oral biopsies used for cell-based therapy for corneal surface restoration.Limbal, conjunctival, and oral biopsies were collected with informed patient consent. Explant cultures were established on the denuded human amniotic membrane with corneal lineage differentiation medium. The day 14 cultures were characterized for epithelial and corneal lineage-specific markers using reverse transcription (RT)-PCR for cytokeratin 3, 4, 12, 13, 15, connexin 43, vimentin, p63?, and ABCG2 markers. mRNA expression was estimated in day 14 cultures with real-time quantitative real time (qRT)-PCR for pluripotency markers (OCT4, SOX2, NANOG), putative corneal stem cell markers (ABCG2 and p63?), proliferation markers (cyclin d1, Ki-67, PCNA, and CDC20), apoptotic markers (BCL2, BAX, caspase 3, and caspase 9), Notch signaling pathway markers (Notch1, Jagged1, Hes1, Hes3, Hes5, and Hey1), and autophagic markers (LC3A, LC3B, ATG7, RAB7, LAMP1, and LAMP2). Fluorescence-activated cell sorter profiling was performed for pluripotent markers and putative corneal stem cell markers ABCG2 and p63?.The protein and mRNA expression levels of the pluripotent markers were lower, whereas those of the putative stem/progenitor markers ABCG2, ?Np63?, and Notch signaling molecules (Notch1 and Jagged1) were elevated in limbal cultures. The gene expression levels of the autophagy markers (LC3A, LC3B, and LAMP1) were significantly increased in the limbal cultures compared to the oral and conjunctival cultures.In conclusion, the limbal epithelial cultures showed higher expression of proliferative, limbal stem cell marker, Notch signaling, and autophagy markers suggesting a role in stem cell maintenance and differentiation. This implicates the probable factors that might drive a successful transplantation. Our findings provide the initial steps toward understanding transplantation medicine in an ex vivo model.
Project description:To report potentially pathogenic mutations in the keratin 3 (KRT3) and keratin 12 (KRT12) genes in two individuals with clinically diagnosed Meesmann corneal dystrophy (MECD).Slit-lamp examination was performed on the probands and available family members to identify characteristic features of MECD. After informed consent was obtained, saliva samples were obtained as a source of genomic DNA, and screening of KRT3 and KRT12 was performed. Potentially pathogenic variants were screened for in 200 control chromosomes. PolyPhen-2, SIFT, and PANTHER were used to predict the functional impact of identified variants. Short tandem repeat genotyping was performed to confirm paternity.Slit-lamp examination of the first proband demonstrated bilateral, diffusely distributed, clear epithelial microcysts, consistent with MECD. Screening of KRT3 revealed a heterozygous missense variant in exon 1, c.250C>T (p.(Arg84Trp)), which has a minor allele frequency of 0.0076 and was not identified in 200 control chromosomes. In silico analysis with PolyPhen-2 and PANTHER predicted the variant to be damaging to protein function; however, SIFT analysis predicted tolerance of the variant. The second proband demonstrated bilateral, diffusely distributed epithelial opacities that appeared gray-white on direct illumination and translucent on retroillumination. Neither parent demonstrated corneal opacities. Screening of KRT12 revealed a novel heterozygous insertion/deletion variant in exon 6, c.1288_1293delinsAGCCCT (p.(Arg430_Arg431delinsSerPro)). This variant was not present in either of the proband's parents or in 200 control chromosomes and was predicted to be damaging by PolyPhen-2, PANTHER, and SIFT. Haplotype analysis confirmed paternity of the second proband, indicating that the variant arose de novo.We present a novel KRT12 mutation, representing the first de novo mutation and the first indel in KRT12 associated with MECD. In addition, we report a variant of uncertain significance in KRT3 in an individual with MECD. Although the potential pathogenicity of this variant is unknown, it is the first variant affecting the head domain of K3 to be reported in an individual with MECD and suggests that disease-causing variants associated with MECD may not be restricted to primary sequence alterations of either the helix-initiation or helix-termination motifs of K3 and K12.
Project description:PURPOSE: To report a novel missense mutation of the cornea specific keratin 12 (KRT12) gene in two generations of a German family diagnosed with Meesmann;s corneal dystrophy. METHODS: Ophthalmologic examination of the proband and sequencing of keratin 3 (KRT3) and KRT12 of the proband and three other family members were performed. Restriction enzyme analysis was used to confirm the detected mutation in affected individuals of the family. RESULTS: Slit-lamp biomicroscopy of the proband revealed multiple intraepithelial microcysts comparable to a Meesmann dystrophy phenotype. A novel heterozygous A-->G transversion at the first nucleotide position of codon 129 (ATG>GTG, M129V) in exon 1 of KRT12 was detected in the proband, her two affected sons but not in her unaffected husband or 50 control individuals. CONCLUSIONS: We have identified a novel missense mutation within the highly conserved helix-initiation motif of KRT12 causing Meesmann;s corneal dystrophy in a German family.
Project description:On ocular surface, corneal epithelial stem cells (SC) reside in limbus between cornea and conjunctiva. Pax6, an evolutionally conserved transcription factor essential for eye development, is expressed in post-natal corneal and limbal epithelia progenitors (LEPC) but not in underlying stroma. Because Pax6 is transiently expressed in developing corneal stroma and a subset of limbal and corneal stromal progenitors, we examined the role of Pax6 in limbal niche cells (LNC) in maintaining the phenotype of neural crest (NC) progenitors to support LEPC. Our results showed that nuclear Pax6 staining was found in freshly isolated LNC but not corneal stromal cells. Serial passaged LNC resulted in gradual loss of nuclear Pax6 (46?kDa) staining and neural crest progenitor status defined by the expression of embryonic SCs and NC markers, neurosphere formation, and differentiation into neurons, oligodendrocytes and astrocytes. Gain of function of 46?kDa Pax6 in late-passaged LNC resulted in nuclear Pax6 staining and promotion of the aforementioned NC progenitor status. In an in vitro reunion assay, early passaged LNC and late passaged LNC with overexpression of Pax6 inhibited the expression of corneal epithelial differentiation marker and promoted holoclone by LEPC. Therefore, expression of nuclear 46?kDa Pax6 in LNC plays an important developmental role in maintaining NC progenitor status to support self-renewal of corneal epithelial SCs in the limbal niche.
Project description:Epithelial and stromal stem cells are required to maintain corneal transparency. The aim of the study was to develop a new method to isolate and grow both corneal stromal (SSC) and epithelial limbal (LSC) stem cells from small human limbal biopsies under culture conditions in accordance with safety requirements mandatory for clinical use in humans. Superficial limbal explants were retrieved from human donor corneo-scleral rims. Human limbal cells were dissociated by digestion with collagenase A, either after epithelial scraping or with no scraping. Isolated cells were cultured with Essential 8 medium (E8), E8 supplemented with EGF (E8+) or Green's medium with 3T3 feeder-layers. Cells were characterized by immunostaining, RT-qPCR, colony forming efficiency, sphere formation, population doubling, second harmonic generation microscopy and differentiation potentials. LSC were obtained from unscraped explants in E8, E8+ and Green's media and were characterized by colony formation and expression of PAX6, ?NP63?, Bmi1, ABCG2, SOX9, CK14, CK15 and vimentin, with a few cells positive for CK3. LSC underwent 28 population doublings still forming colonies. SSC were obtained from both scraped and unscraped explants in E8 and E8+ media and were characterized by sphere formation, expression of PAX6, SOX2, BMI1, NESTIN, ABCG2, KERATOCAN, VIMENTIN, SOX9, SOX10 and HNK1, production of collagen fibrils and differentiation into keratocytes, fibroblasts, myofibroblasts, neurons, adipocytes, chondrocytes and osteocytes. SSC underwent 48 population doublings still forming spheres, Thus, this new method allows both SSC and LSC to be isolated from small superficial limbal biopsies and to be primary cultured in feeder-free and xeno-free conditions, which will be useful for clinical purposes.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The molecular basis of Meesmann's epithelial corneal dystrophy (MECD) has recently been attributed to mutations in the cornea specific keratin genes KRT3 and KRT12. The mechanisms by which these mutations cause the Meesmann's phenotype are not clear. This study presents new data, examines clinical, histological, ultrastructural, and molecular aspects of MECD, and compares the features seen in this condition with those observed in other well studied keratin diseases such as epidermolysis bullosa simplex. METHODS:A two generation family with typical features of Meesmann's epithelial corneal dystrophy (MECD) was studied. All family members were examined under a slit lamp. Biopsy material from elective keratoplasty was studied by histopathological and ultrastructural analysis using standard techniques. Direct automated sequencing of genomic DNA was used for mutation detection, mutations were confirmed by restriction digest analysis. RESULTS:The abnormal corneal epithelium was acanthotic and contained numerous dyskeratotic cells and intraepithelial vesicles. By electron microscopy abnormally aggregated and clumped keratin filament bundles were detected in basal and suprabasal keratinocytes from the centre of the cornea. Direct sequencing of the patients' genomic DNA revealed a novel missense mutation (423T>G) in exon 1 of the cornea specific keratin 12 (KRT12) gene. This mutation predicts the amino acid change N133K within the helix initiation motif of the K12 polypeptide. Comparative studies with well established keratin disorders of other human epithelia underscore the pathogenic relevance of K3 and K12 gene mutations in Meesmann's epithelial corneal dystrophy. The morphological data presented here illustrate the disruptive effects of keratin gene mutations on the integrity of corneal keratinocytes. CONCLUSIONS:A clinical, histopathological, and ultrastructural study of a previously unreported family with MECD is presented. In this family the disease is ascribed to a novel mutation in KRT12. A molecular mechanism is proposed for MECD based on the comparison with other well characterised keratin diseases.
Project description:Purpose:Report a case of corneal melt in a patient with conjunctival intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) treated with topical interferon (IFN) alpha-2B. Observations:An 89-year-old man presented with gelatinous paralimbal lesions of the left eye extending onto the cornea with corneal neovascularization extending 5-6 clock hours. Nasally there was mild absence of the terminal vascular loops of the limbal palisades of Vogt and conjunctivalization. Diffuse punctate epithelial erosions were noted. The corneal graft displayed subepithelial and stromal edema. Anterior segment optical coherence tomography detected hyperreflectivity, sectional thickened epithelium, and abrupt transitions from normal to abnormal tissue. The patient was treated with excision of the corneal and conjunctival lesions with cryotherapy to the conjunctival borders. Excisional biopsy revealed CIN Grade 3 and carcinoma in situ of the cornea. Topical IFN alpha-2B four times daily was initiated postoperatively. Two months later, a central epithelial defect developed. The cornea progressively thinned and corneal melt ensued. The patient had several risk factors for corneal melt including neurotrophic cornea, early limbal stem cell deficiency, history of cryotherapy, keratoconjunctivitis sicca, and chronic use of glaucoma medications and steroid medications. Conclusions:Interferon alpha-2B is an effective first line treatment for CIN with few side effects. It's side effects include punctate epithelial erosions, conjunctival hyperemia, and follicular conjunctivitis. We report a case of pre-existing keratoconjunctivitis sicca, early limbal stem cell deficiency, neurotrophic cornea, and newly diagnosed CIN Grade 3; it was treated with surgical excision, cryotherapy, and topical IFN alpha-2b with development of corneal melt 2 months later. Caution should be taken when using interferon alpha -2b in patients with pre-existing keratoconjunctivitis sicca, neurotrophic cornea, or limbal stem cell deficiency as it could exacerbate these conditions resulting in corneal melt.