Requirement for the c-Maf transcription factor in crystallin gene regulation and lens development

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Mar 30;96(7):3781-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.96.7.3781.


The vertebrate lens is a tissue composed of terminally differentiated fiber cells and anterior lens epithelial cells. The abundant, preferential expression of the soluble proteins called crystallins creates a transparent, refractive index gradient in the lens. Several transcription factors such as Pax6, Sox1, and L-Maf have been shown to regulate lens development. Here we show that mice lacking the transcription factor c-Maf are microphthalmic secondary to defective lens formation, specifically from the failure of posterior lens fiber elongation. The marked impairment of crystallin gene expression observed is likely explained by the ability of c-Maf to transactivate the crystallin gene promoter. Thus, c-Maf is required for the differentiation of the vertebrate lens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Crystallins / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Genetic Carrier Screening
  • Genomic Library
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Lens, Crystalline / abnormalities
  • Lens, Crystalline / growth & development
  • Lens, Crystalline / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred DBA
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-maf
  • Proto-Oncogenes*
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Transcriptional Activation


  • Crystallins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Maf protein, mouse
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-maf