Accumulation of mutant myocilins in ER leads to ER stress and potential cytotoxicity in human trabecular meshwork cells

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Dec 19;312(3):592-600. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2003.10.162.


MYOC encoding a 55kDa secretory glycoprotein named myocilin is closely linked to primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). To understand a role played by MYOC in glaucoma, we examined the cellular fate of various mutant myocilins that were adenovirally expressed in human trabecular meshwork cells. Most myocilins with mutations such as G364V, Q368X, K423E, Y437H, and I477N were intrinsically stable, and appeared to have interactions with wild-type myocilin but not with stromelysin and thereby selectively inhibited the secretion of the former protein. The myocilins expressed were identified to be concentrated into fine punctate aggregates in endoplasmic reticulum, but never developed into the formation of aggresomes. In endoplasmic reticulum, the accumulation of the myocilins resulted in the upregulation of 78kDa glucose-regulated protein and protein disulfide isomerase. In addition, the expression of the myocilins led to deformed cellular morphology and diminished cell proliferation, an effect postulated to result in the dysfunction of trabecular cells that could be a cause of glaucoma. Therefore, our results support the statement that gain of function rather than haploinsufficiency is a critical mechanism for POAG in individuals with mutations on MYOC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / ultrastructure*
  • Eye Proteins / chemistry
  • Eye Proteins / genetics
  • Eye Proteins / metabolism*
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / metabolism
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / pathology
  • Glycoproteins / chemistry
  • Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Mutation
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Stress, Physiological / metabolism*
  • Stress, Physiological / pathology
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Trabecular Meshwork / growth & development*
  • Trabecular Meshwork / metabolism*
  • Trabecular Meshwork / pathology


  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Eye Proteins
  • Glycoproteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • trabecular meshwork-induced glucocorticoid response protein