PURPOSE: To investigate the differential expression of TGFBIp in normal human and Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) endothelial cell-Descemet’s membrane (HCEC-DM) complex, and to asses the structural role of TGFBIp and clusterin (CLU) in guttae formation.
METHODS: HCEC-DM complex was dissected from stroma in normal and FECD samples. Proteins were separated by 2-D gel electrophoresis and subjected to proteomic analysis. N-terminal processing of TGFBIp was detected by Western blot analysis with two separate antibodies against the N- and C-terminal regions of TGFBIp. Expression of TGFBI mRNA was compared by using real-time PCR. Subcellular localization of TGFBIp and CLU in corneal guttae was assessed by fluorescence confocal microscopy.
RESULTS: A major 68-kDa fragment and a minor 39-kDa fragment of TGFBIp were identified on 2-D gels. Western blot analysis revealed an age-dependent proteolytic processing of the TGFBIp N terminus resulting in the increased formation of 57-kDa (P = 0.04) and 39-kDa (P = 0.03) fragments in older donors. FECD HCEC-DM showed a significant increase in the 68-kDa (P = 0.04), 57-kDa (P = 0.01), and 39- kDa (P = 0.03) fragments of TGFBIp. Real-time PCR analysis revealed that TGFBI mRNA was significantly increased (P = 0.04) in FECD samples. TGFBIp formed aggregates at the lower portions of guttae, next to Descemet’s membrane, whereas CLU localized mostly on top of the TGFBIp-stained areas at the level of the endothelial cell nuclear plane.
CONCLUSIONS: The overexpression of proaggregative protein CLU, and proadhesive protein TGFBIp, have been colocalized in the guttae. Such findings provide us with a better understanding of the major contributors involved in the aberrant cell-extracellular matrix interactions seen in the guttae of patients with FECD.
Jurkunas UV, Bitar M, Rawe I. Colocalization of increased transforming growth factor-β-induced protein (TGFBIp) and Clusterin in Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. 2009;50:1129-1136. https://dx.doi.org/10.1167/iovs.08-2525