Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and the Lysosomal Pathway Play Crucial Roles in the Progression of βB2-Crystallin Mutation-Induced Congenital Cataracts in Mice

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2023 Apr 3;64(4):34. doi: 10.1167/iovs.64.4.34.


Purpose: Congenital cataract is a major cause of visual impairment and childhood blindness; however, its underlying mechanism remains unclear. Here, we aimed to identify the roles of endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS), lysosomal pathway, and lens capsule fibrosis during the progression of βB2-crystallin mutation-induced congenital cataract in mice.

Methods: BetaB2-W151C knock-in mice were generated using the CRISPR/Cas9 system. Lens opacity was assessed with a slit-lamp biomicroscopy and dissecting microscope. Transcriptional profiles of the lenses in W151C mutant and wild-type (WT) control mice were detected at 3 months of age. Immunofluorescence of lens anterior capsule was photographed with a confocal microscope. Real-time PCR and immunoblot were used to detect gene mRNA and protein expressions, respectively.

Results: BetaB2-W151C knock-in mice developed progressive bilateral congenital cataracts. At 2 to 3 months of age, lens opacity rapidly progressed to complete cataracts. Additionally, multilayered LEC plaques developed beneath the lens anterior capsule in homozygous mice at 3 months of age, and severe fibrosis was observed in the whole lens capsule at 9 months of age. Microarray analysis of whole genome transcriptomics and the validation results of real-time PCR revealed that genes of ERS, the lysosomal pathway, apoptosis, and cell migration and fibrosis were significantly upregulated in βB2-W151C mutant mice during the accelerated development of cataract. Moreover, the syntheses of various crystallins stagnated in βB2-W151C mutant mice.

Conclusions: ERS, the lysosomal pathway, apoptosis, and fibrosis all contributed to the accelerated development of congenital cataract. The inhibition of ERS and lysosomal cathepsins may be promising therapeutic strategies for congenital cataract.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cataract* / genetics
  • Cataract* / metabolism
  • Crystallins* / metabolism
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress
  • Lens, Crystalline* / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mutation


  • Crystallins
  • beta-crystallin B2