MMP9 Differentially Regulates Proteins Involved in Actin Polymerization and Cell Migration during TGF-β-Induced EMT in the Lens Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Fibrotic cataracts have been attributed to transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β)-induced epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Using mouse knockout (KO) models, our laboratory has identified MMP9 as a crucial protein in the TGF-β-induced EMT process. In this study, we further revealed an absence of alpha-smooth muscle actin (αSMA) and filamentous-actin (F-actin) stress fibers in MMP9KO mouse lens epithelial cell explants (LECs). Expression analysis using NanoString revealed no marked differences in αSMA (ACTA2) and beta-actin (β-actin) (ACTB) mRNA between the lenses of TGF-β-overexpressing (TGF-βtg) mice and TGF-βtg mice on a MMP9KO background. We subsequently conducted a protein array that revealed differential regulation of proteins known to be involved in actin polymerization and cell migration in TGF-β-treated MMP9KO mouse LECs when compared to untreated controls. Immunofluorescence analyses using rat LECs and the novel MMP9-specific inhibitor, JNJ0966, revealed similar differential regulation of cortactin, FAK, LIMK1 and MLC2 as observed in the array. Finally, a reduction in the nuclear localization of MRTF-A, a master regulator of cytoskeletal remodeling during EMT, was observed in rat LECs co-treated with JNJ0966 and TGF-β. In conclusion, MMP9 deficiency results in differential regulation of proteins involved in actin polymerization and cell migration, and this in turn prevents TGF-β-induced EMT in the lens.

publication date

  • November 5, 2021