Roles of Maf family proteins in lens development

Dev Dyn. 2004 Mar;229(3):440-8. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.10467.


Lens provides a good model for studying developmental cues relevant to cellular and molecular interactions. Basic region/leucine zipper (bZIP) transcription factors have been found to play key roles during eye formation in various species, including human, mouse, rat, Xenopus, zebrafish, chick, and quail. Different ocular developmental anomalies associated with MAF mutation in human implicate its active role during eye development. Several members of the maf gene family with this bZIP motif participate directly in lens morphogenesis. One vital Maf protein, L-Maf, is expressed in developing lens cells of chick embryos. Its homolog recently has been detected in lens placode of Xenopus embryos and regulates expression of lens fiber-specific genes in this species. Ectopic expression of L-Maf can induce lens-specific genes in cultured retina cells and embryonic ectoderm. The dominant-negative form of L-Maf causes the suppression of crystallin expression and subsequently inhibits lens formation, indicating that L-Maf plays a central role in chick lens development.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chick Embryo
  • Crystallins / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Ectoderm / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Humans
  • Lens, Crystalline / cytology
  • Lens, Crystalline / embryology*
  • Lens, Crystalline / metabolism
  • Lens, Crystalline / pathology
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / physiology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-maf
  • Retina / cytology
  • Transcription Factors


  • Crystallins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • MAF protein, human
  • Maf protein, mouse
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-maf
  • Transcription Factors