Molecular Profiling of the Developing Lacrimal Gland Reveals Putative Role of Notch Signaling in Branching Morphogenesis

Dvoriantchikova G, etc
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 2017

To identify these genes, we used microarray analysis to compare the gene expression profiles of developing (embryonic) and adult lacrimal glands. Differential data were validated by quantitative RT-PCR, and several corresponding proteins were confirmed by immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis. To evaluate the role of NOTCH signaling in lacrimal gland (LG) development, we used the NOTCH inhibitor DAPT and conditional Notch1 knockouts.

Results: Our microarray data and an in silico reconstruction of cellular networks revealed significant changes in the expression patterns of genes from the NOTCH, WNT, TGFß, and Hedgehog pathways, all of which are involved in the regulation of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Our study also revealed new putative lacrimal gland stem cell/progenitor markers. We found that inhibiting Notch signaling both increases the average number of lacrimal gland lobules and reduces the size of each lobule.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that NOTCH-, WNT-, TGFß-, and Hedgehog-regulated EMT transition are critical mechanisms in lacrimal gland development and morphogenesis. Our data also supports the hypothesis that NOTCH signaling regulates branching morphogenesis in the developing lacrimal gland by suppressing cleft formation.

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Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science
doi: 10.1167/iovs.16-20315
University of Miami