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In vertebrates, lens epithelial cells cover the anterior half of the lens fiber core. During development, lens epithelial cells proliferate, move posteriorly and differentiate into lens fiber cells after passing through the equator. To elucidate the mechanisms underlying lens epithelial cell movement, we conducted time-lapse imaging of zebrafish lens epithelium. Lens epithelial cells do not intermingle but maintain their relative positions during development. Cell division induces epithelial rearrangement, which subsequently promotes cell movement towards the equator. These data suggest that cell division is the major driving force for cell movement. In zebrafish, E-cadherin is expressed in lens epithelium, whereas N-cadherin is required for lens fiber growth. E-cadherin reduced lens epithelial cell movement, whereas N-cadherin enhanced it. Laser ablation experiments revealed that lens epithelium is governed by pulling tension, which is modulated by these cadherins. Thus, cell division and cadherin-mediated adhesion regulate lens epithelial cell movement via modulation of epithelial tension. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.


Toshiaki Mochizuki, Yi-Jyun Luo, Hsieh-Fu Tsai, Akane Hagiwara, Ichiro Masai. Cell division and cadherin-mediated adhesion regulate lens epithelial cell movement in zebrafish. Development (Cambridge, England). 2017 Feb 15;144(4):708-719

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PMID: 28196805

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