Cloning and mapping the mouse Crygs gene and non-lens expression of [gamma]S-crystallin

Mol Vis. 1998 Apr 30:4:8.


Purpose: [gamma]-Crystallins are major structural proteins of the eye lens. While other crystallins have revealed distinct non-lens functions and patterns of expression, [gamma]-crystallins have generally appeared to be the most lens-specific of the crystallins. Here we examine the mouse [gamma]S-crystallin ([gamma]S) gene and its expression.

Methods: The cDNA and gene for mouse [gamma]S were cloned and sequenced. The Crygs gene was mapped using genetic crosses. Expression patterns in mouse and cow were examined by northern blot, PCR and western blot using a specific peptide antibody.

Results: The Crygs gene was sequenced and mapped to mouse chromosome 16, at or near the locus for the genetic cataract Opj. Northern blots of tissues from new born mice, showed lens specific expression of [gamma]S. However, in the mature mouse eye there was, in addition, clear non-lens expression of [gamma]S. In the adult bovine eye RT-PCR shows that [gamma]S is expressed in lens, retina and cornea. A peptide antibody directed against [gamma]S detects bands of the expected size in western blots of mouse lens and in 33 day old mouse retina.

Conclusions: These results suggest that [gamma]-crystallins have a non-crystallin role outside the lens, one which may predate the lens in evolutionary terms. Non-lens expression seems to increase with age in young mice, hinting that [gamma]S may have a role similar to that of a stress protein in tissues of the eye, perhaps related to accumulating insults resulting from light exposure.

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Aging
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cattle
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Cornea / metabolism
  • Crystallins / genetics*
  • Crystallins / immunology
  • Crystallins / metabolism*
  • Eye / metabolism*
  • Lens, Crystalline / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Crystallins

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF032995
  • GENBANK/AF055702
  • GENBANK/AF055703