Event Title

The “Sweet” Truth about Cornea Development – Glycosaminoglycan Regulate Corneal Innervation

Faculty Advisor

Tyler Schwend

Graduation Year

2022

Location

Center for Natural Sciences

Start Date

4-4-2020 9:00 AM

End Date

4-4-2020 10:00 AM

Description

The cornea, the outermost tissue of the eye, harbors the most nerves of any tissue on the body’s surface. The acquisition of nerves by the cornea during embryonic development occurs in a series of highly regulated steps. Despite this, the molecular mechanisms that coordinate nerve guidance and growth into the cornea are poorly understood. Here we evaluate a potential role for sulfated glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) which are long polysaccharides (sugars) that comprise the bulk of the corneal extracellular matrix. Before arriving at the outermost epithelial layers of the cornea, where nerves will set up free nerve endings and persist throughout life, developing nerves must first extend into and through corneal layers that contain an abundance of GAG molecules. To assess whether GAGs regulate the migratory behaviors we carried out a detailed analysis of corneal innervation patterns following exposure to the glutamine analog, 6-Diazo-5-oxo-L-norleucine (DON), an inhibitor of GAG biosynthesis. Our findings show that disrupting the network of sulfated GAGs in the cornea alters the growth and guidance of nerves prior to, and following, their entry to the cornea. These data strongly suggest that sulfated GAGs play an integral role in coordinating cornea innervation.

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Apr 4th, 9:00 AM Apr 4th, 10:00 AM

The “Sweet” Truth about Cornea Development – Glycosaminoglycan Regulate Corneal Innervation

Center for Natural Sciences

The cornea, the outermost tissue of the eye, harbors the most nerves of any tissue on the body’s surface. The acquisition of nerves by the cornea during embryonic development occurs in a series of highly regulated steps. Despite this, the molecular mechanisms that coordinate nerve guidance and growth into the cornea are poorly understood. Here we evaluate a potential role for sulfated glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) which are long polysaccharides (sugars) that comprise the bulk of the corneal extracellular matrix. Before arriving at the outermost epithelial layers of the cornea, where nerves will set up free nerve endings and persist throughout life, developing nerves must first extend into and through corneal layers that contain an abundance of GAG molecules. To assess whether GAGs regulate the migratory behaviors we carried out a detailed analysis of corneal innervation patterns following exposure to the glutamine analog, 6-Diazo-5-oxo-L-norleucine (DON), an inhibitor of GAG biosynthesis. Our findings show that disrupting the network of sulfated GAGs in the cornea alters the growth and guidance of nerves prior to, and following, their entry to the cornea. These data strongly suggest that sulfated GAGs play an integral role in coordinating cornea innervation.