Purpose: The authors investigated the effects of probes that disrupt integrin-extracellular matrix interactions on early eye development.
Methods: Antibodies and peptides that have been shown in other studies to block the interaction of cell surface integrins with various ligands were microinjected into the preoptic regions of chick embryos. Eye morphogenesis and biochemical differentiation of ocular tissue layers were assessed by histologic and immunohistochemical analyses.
Results: Antibodies that bind to the beta 1 subunit of integrin and block its function prevented normal eye morphogenesis but did not block expression of certain cell differentiation markers. The RGD tripeptide showed the same inhibitory capacity as did the anti-integrin antibodies.
Conclusions: Integrin-based cell-cell and/or cell-extracellular matrix interactions are important in early eye morphogenesis. By contrast, certain aspects of tissue and cell differentiation, such as the expression of carbonic anhydrase II, are controlled independent of morphogenesis.