Purpose: To describe genes expressed in human corneal endothelial cells and identify novel genes.
Methods: Sixteen human donor corneas that had no history of corneal disease, infection, or intraocular surgery were used within 7 days of death. Total RNA was extracted from corneal endothelial cells with attached Descemet membranes. A 3'-directed cDNA library was constructed from mRNA by using a pUC19-based primer. These sequences were compared with each other to determine their frequency and were searched against GenBank for identification. To identify novel specific and abundant transcript genes in corneal endothelial cells, the novel genes were compared with an expressed sequence tag database, the expected sequence extended, and 5' rapid amplification of cDNA ends-polymerase chain reaction cloning performed.
Results: The human corneal endothelial cDNA library showed that the most abundant transcript was prostaglandin D2 synthase. The remaining transcript genes that were present in abundance consisted of lactate dehydrogenase-A, gene signature (GS) 3582, which is a novel gene without a known function, and matrix Gla protein. The full-length sequence of GS3582 showed similarity to genes obtained in ovary and TESTIS.
Conclusions: A human corneal endothelial cDNA library was constructed. An expression profile of corneal endothelium provides probes to monitor physiologic and pathologic conditions of this tissue in terms of gene expression.