Crystallins and Their Complexes

Subcell Biochem. 2019:93:439-460. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-28151-9_14.


The crystallins (α, β and γ), major constituent proteins of eye lens fiber cells play their critical role in maintaining the transparency and refractive index of the lens. Under different stress factors and with aging, β- and γ-crystallins start to unfold partially leading to their aggregation. Protein aggregation in lens basically enhances light scattering and causes the vision problem, commonly known as cataract. α-crystallin as a molecular chaperone forms complexes with its substrates (β- and γ-crystallins) to prevent such aggregation. In this chapter, the structural features of β- and γ-crystallins have been discussed. Detailed structural information linked with the high stability of γC-, γD- and γS-crystallins have been incorporated. The nature of homologous and heterologous interactions among crystallins has been deciphered, which are involved in their molecular association and complex formation.

Keywords: Aggregation of crystallins; Crystallin complexes; α-crystallin; β-crystallin; γ-crystallin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cataract / metabolism
  • Crystallins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lens, Crystalline / chemistry
  • Lens, Crystalline / metabolism
  • Molecular Chaperones / metabolism
  • Multiprotein Complexes / chemistry*
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism*


  • Crystallins
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Multiprotein Complexes