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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Expression of transforming growth factor beta in the embryonic avian lens coincides with the presence of mitochondria.

During their maturation, lens cells lose all membrane bound organelles, including mitochondria. In chicken embryos this process begins in the central lens fibers beginning around embryonic day 12 ( E12). Transforming growth factor beta (TGF beta) is a multipotent growth modulator thought to play a role in numerous developmental processes. TGF beta 1 has been localized to mitochondria in rat liver cells and muscle cells. In the present study, we examined the expression of TGF beta isoform mRNAs and proteins during chicken embryonic lens development. PCR analysis demonstrated TGF beta 2 and TGF beta 3 transcripts in the lens epithelium and fibers throughout pre- and post-hatching development. TGF beta isoforms were detected throughout the lens epithelium and fibers early in development (E6). However by E19, the distribution of TGF beta 2 and TGF beta 3 transcripts and proteins coincided with regions of the lens that contained mitochondria. In addition, intense TGF beta staining was observed in the basal portions of the equatorial epithelial cells, a region with abundant mitochondria. Transcripts for TGF beta 1 and TGF beta 4 were not detected in any tissue or time frame examined. Similarly, no immunostaining for TGF beta 1 was observed.[1]


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