Cataract—an opacity of the normally clear lens.

Cataract—an opacity of the normally clear lens.Zuzana Kyselova
Mass Spectrom Rev. (2011), 30 (6), 1173-1184

Cataract, the opacification of the eye lens, is the leading cause of blindness worldwide—it accounts for approximately 42% of all cases. The lens fibers have the highest protein content within the body, more than 35% of their wet weight. Given the eye lens pure composition of highly abundant structural proteins crystallins (up to 90%), it seems to be an ideal proteomic entity to study and might be also hypothesized to model the other protein conformational diseases. Crystallins are extremely long-lived, and there is virtually no protein turnover. This provides great opportunities for post-translational modifications (PTM) to occur and to predispose lens to the cataract formation. Despite recent progress in proteomics, the human lens proteome remains largely unknown. Mass spectrometry hold great promise to determine which crystallin modifications lead to a cataract. Quantitative analysis of PTMs at the peptide level with proteomics is a powerful bioanalytical tool for lens-tissue samples, and provides more comprehensive results. New mass spectrometry-based approaches that are being applied to lens research will be highlighted. Finally, the future directions of proteomics cataract research will be outlined.



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