CRALBPCellular Retinaldehyde-Binding Protein
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This approach is aimed at producing a culture of RPE cells with properties characteristic of the native tissue, including morphological features (apical microvilli, basal invaginations, well-defined tight junctions, and prominent melanocytic pigmentation), expression of specific proteins (CRALBP, RpE65, MITF, Otx2, ZO-1, occludin, claudin, ezrin, [Na.sup.+]/[K.sup.+]-ATPase, bestrophin, and cytokeratins 8/18), and physiological parameters, TER in particular.
Thus, RPE cells cultured as an adhesive monolayer gradually lose epithelial characteristics, including polarity and specific markers (pigmentation and expression of E-cadherin, CRALBP, and cytokeratins 8 and 18) and acquire migratory properties and mesenchymal cell-like features (e.g., express collagen type I and fibronectin), which is similar to phenotypic changes of RPE cells in vivo under pathological conditions.
The pigment was again detected in the cells after 8 weeks; CRALBP expression, after 12 weeks; and myocilin, after 4 months.