In species of the frog genus Xenopus, lens regeneration occurs through a process of transdifferentiation, in which cornea epithelial cells presumably undergo dedifferentiation and subsequently redifferentiate to form a new lens. Experimental studies have shown that the retina provides the key signal required to trigger this process once the original lens is removed. A previous study showed that addition of an exogenous fibroblast growth factor (i.e., FGF1 protein) could initiate transdifferentiation of cornea epithelial cells in culture. To determine the role of FGF signaling in X. laevis lens regeneration, we have examined the presence of specific FGFs and their receptors (FGFRs) during this process and evaluated the necessity of FGFR signaling. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analyses reveal that a number of FGF family members are expressed in cornea epithelium and retinal tissues both before and during the process of lens regeneration. Of these, FGF1, FGF8, and FGF9 are expressed principally in retinal tissue and not in the cornea epithelium. Hence, these ligands could represent key signaling factors originating from the retina that trigger regeneration. The results of experiments using an in vitro eye culture system and an FGFR inhibitor (SU5402) suggest that FGFR signaling is required for lens regeneration in Xenopus.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)