Role of the small GTP-binding protein rho in epithelial cell migration in the rabbit cornea

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2001 Apr;42(5):941-7.


Purpose: To determine the role of the small guanosine triphosphate (GTP)-binding protein Rho in the migration of corneal epithelial cells.

Methods: The presence of the Rho target proteins Rho-associated coiled coil-containing protein kinase (ROCK)-1 and ROCK-2 in rabbit cornea was examined by immunohistochemical analysis, and that of the corresponding mRNAs in rabbit corneal epithelial cells was determined by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis. The effects of various agents on epithelial cell migration were investigated by measuring the length of the migration path in rabbit corneal blocks in culture.

Results: Both ROCK-1 and ROCK-2 were detected in the rabbit corneal epithelium at both protein and mRNA levels. The Rho activator lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) stimulated corneal epithelial migration in a dose-dependent manner, whereas exoenzyme C3, a Rho inhibitor, inhibited epithelial migration also in a dose-dependent manner. The stimulatory effect of LPA on corneal epithelial migration was prevented by exoenzyme C3. Both cytochalasin B, an inhibitor of actin filament assembly, and ML-7, an inhibitor of myosin light chain kinase, also prevented LPA stimulation of epithelial migration.

Conclusions: These results suggest that Rho mediates corneal epithelial migration in response to external stimuli by regulating the organization of the actin cytoskeleton.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Azepines / pharmacology
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Complement C3 / pharmacology
  • Cornea / cytology*
  • Cornea / enzymology
  • Cytochalasin B / pharmacology
  • DNA Primers / chemistry
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology*
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Lysophospholipids / pharmacology
  • Naphthalenes / pharmacology
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rabbits
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • rho-Associated Kinases


  • Actins
  • Azepines
  • Complement C3
  • DNA Primers
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Lysophospholipids
  • Naphthalenes
  • RNA, Messenger
  • ML 7
  • Cytochalasin B
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • rho-Associated Kinases
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins