Lens fiber cell differentiation and denucleation are disrupted through expression of the N-terminal nuclear receptor box of Ncoa6 and result in p53-dependent and p53-independent apoptosis

Wei Lin Wang, Qingtian Li, Jianming Xu, Aleš Cvekl

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25 Scopus citations


Nuclear receptor coactivator 6 (NCOA6) is a multifunctional protein implicated in embryonic development, cell survival, and homeostasis. An 81-amino acid fragment, dnNCOA6, containing the N-terminal nuclear receptor box (LXXLL motif) of NCOA6, acts as a dominant-negative (dn) inhibitor of NCOA6. Here, we expressed dnNCOA6 in postmitotic transgenic mouse lens fiber cells. The transgenic lenses showed reduced growth; a wide spectrum of lens fiber cell differentiation defects, including reduced expression of γ-crystallins; and cataract formation. Those lens fiber cells entered an alternate proapoptotic pathway, and the denucleation (karyolysis) process was stalled. Activation of caspase-3 at embryonic day (E)13.5 was followed by double-strand breaks (DSBs) formation monitored via a biomarker, γ-H2AX. Intense terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) signals were found at E16.5. Thus, a window of ∼72 h between these events suggested prolonged though incomplete apoptosis in the lens fiber cell compartment that preserved nuclei in its cells. Genetic experiments showed that the apoptotic-like processes in the transgenic lens were both p53-dependent and p53-independent. Lens-specific deletion of Ncoa6 also resulted in disrupted lens fiber cell differentiation. Our data demonstrate a cell-autonomous role of Ncoa6 in lens fiber cell differentiation and suggest novel insights into the process of lens fiber cell denucleation and apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2453-2468
Number of pages16
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Jul 15 2010


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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