Identification of genes downstream of Pax6 in the mouse lens using cDNA microarrays

J Biol Chem. 2002 Mar 29;277(13):11539-48. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110531200. Epub 2002 Jan 14.


Pax6 is a transcription factor that regulates the development of the visual, olfactory, and central nervous systems, pituitary, and pancreas. Pax6 is required for induction, growth, and maintenance of the lens; however, few direct Pax6 target genes are known. This study was designed to identify batteries of differentially expressed genes in three related systems: 8-week old Pax6 heterozygous lenses, 8-week old Pax6 heterozygous eyes, and transgenic lenses overexpressing PAX6(5a), using high throughput cDNA microarrays containing about 9700 genes. Initially, we obtained almost 400 differentially expressed genes in lenses from mice heterozygous for a Pax6 deletion, suggesting that Pax6 haploinsufficiency causes global changes in the lens transcriptome. Comparisons between the three sets of analyses revealed that paralemmin, molybdopterin synthase sulfurylase, Tel6 oncogene (ETV6), a cleavage-specific factor (Cpsf1) and tangerin A were abnormally expressed in all three experimental models. Semiquantitative reverse transcription (RT)-PCR analysis confirmed that all five of these genes were differentially expressed in Pax-6 heterozygous and Pax6(5a) transgenic lenses. Western blotting and immunohistochemistry demonstrated that paralemmin is found at high levels in the adult lens and confirmed its down-regulation in the Pax6(5a)-transgenic lenses. Collectively, our data provide insights into the genetic programs regulated by Pax6 in the lens.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Crystallins / genetics
  • Crystallins / metabolism
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics*
  • Eye Proteins
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Heterozygote
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Homeodomain Proteins / physiology
  • Lens, Crystalline / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis*
  • PAX6 Transcription Factor
  • Paired Box Transcription Factors
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Crystallins
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Eye Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • PAX6 Transcription Factor
  • Paired Box Transcription Factors
  • Palm protein, mouse
  • Pax6 protein, mouse
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • homeobox protein PITX3