Crystallin Genes: Templates for Lens Transparency

Joram Piatigorsky, John M. Nickerson, Charles R. King, George Inana, J. Fielding Hejtmancik, James W. Hawkins, Teresa Borras, Toshimichi Shinohara, Graeme Wistow, Barbara Norman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Analysis of recombinant DNAs provides new information on the basis of crystallin evolution and diversity. All crystallin genes contain introns Two similar, tandemly linked chicken δ-crystallin genes, which probably arose by gene duplication, contain at least 16-17 introns In the β-crystallins three introns are situated between exons encoding the structural motifs of the protein, thus relating gene and protein structure. The structurally similar β- and γ-crvstallins are coded by separate gene families which apparently arose by successive duplications of a common ancestral gene. The N-termini (5 ' end of gene) of the β-crvstallins appear to have diverged, while the 3' ends have been conserved. In the single murine αA-crystallin gene, coding information (the insert exon for the αAin, peptide is contained within an intron. Alternative RNA splicing of this gene gives both the αA- and the αAins crystallin mRNAs. Thus, molecular genetics is providing a deeper appreciation of evolutionary events and is serving to redefine the crystallins in lerms of their genes. Since the crystallina are so abundant in the lens, greater understanding of their polypeptide and gene structure should contribute to our understanding of and ability to treat cataract.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHuman Cataract Formation
PublisherWiley Blackwell
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9780470720875, 0272797758, 9780272797754
StatePublished - May 30 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Analysis of recombinant dnas
  • Common ancestral gene
  • Crystallin genes
  • Crystallin genes
  • Lens transparency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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