Channels and Lens

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Science  11 Jan 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5553, pp. 229
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5553.229p

During the development of multicellular organisms, cells communicate with each other for coordinated growth and differentiation through the passage of signaling molecules. A large family of connexin genes encodes gap junction channels that allow signaling molecules to diffusion between cells. In an effort to determine the specific roles of various connexins, White (p. 319) engineered mice such that one connexin gene, Cx50, was replaced with another, Cx46, in the mouse eye. This substitution analysis showed that Cx50 is required for lens differentiation and growth, whereas Cx46 functions in lens differentiation but not growth. Hence, the connexin multigene family encodes proteins that have similar sequences but display different specificity in lens development.

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