β-crystallin mRNAs: Differential distribution in the developing chicken lens

Harry Ostrer, David C. Beebe, Joram Piatigorsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

The synthesis of the β-crystallin polypeptides has been studied in different regions of the embryonic chicken lens. Seven β-crystallin polypeptides ranging in molecular weight from approximately 19,000 (19K) to 35,000 (35K) daltons were identified by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Each polypeptide was synthesized in a rabbit reticulocyte cell-free system supplemented with RNA from the embryonic lens fiber cells suggesting that each is encoded by a separate mRNA. Analysis of the cell-free translation products of the RNAs from 6-, 15-, and 19-day-old embryonic chicken lens fibers demonstrated that all seven polypeptides are translated at each of the stages and that the proportion of β-crystallin mRNAs increases as the chicken embryo matures. Fingerprints of methionine-containing tryptic peptides indicated that the three predominant β-crystallin polypeptides synthesized in the reticulocyte lysate (20K, 26K, and 35K) have related but distinct primary structures. Surprisingly, both the 35K β-crystallin polypeptide and its mRNA were selectively absent from the cells in the central region of the epithelium. Synthesis of this polypeptide from extracted RNAs was detected in the elongating cells of the equatorial region of the epithelium and from the fiber cells. In contrast to the 35K polypeptide, the six lower-molecular-weight β-crystallin polypeptides were synthesized in a reticulocyte lysate directed by RNAs extracted from all three regions of the lens. These data indicate that lens cell elongation and fiber cell differentiation in the embryonic chicken are accompanied by the appearance of the mRNA for the 35K polypeptide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-408
Number of pages6
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Volume86
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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