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Title: The molecular basis of epthelial cell migration : maintenance and repair of the ocular surface
Author: Findlay, Amy Siobhan
ISNI:       0000 0004 5918 1432
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2015
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In vertebrates the cornea must maintain its transparency throughout adult life to ensure sight, and understanding the mechanisms underpinning corneal homeostasis are fundamental to developing new treatments to cure or prevent blindness. This study investigated the role the planar cell polarity pathway plays in the directed migration of adult corneal epithelial cells, in maintaining the homeostatic environment of the eye and during wound healing. RT-PCR confirmed, for the first time, the expression of multiple core PCP genes within human corneal epithelial (HCE) cells. Components of the PCP pathway were pharmacologically and genetically manipulated during wound healing of corneal epithelial cells and the importance of the downstream target JNK, and core PCP gene Vangl2, during wound healing was demonstrated. Manipulation of core PCP components was found also to directly affect the ability of HCE cells to realign and migrate in response to physical topographical cues in vitro. This study therefore indicated that PCP may regulate the directed migration of corneal epithelial cells as they travel over the basement membrane. Using conditional knockout mice the loss of Vangl2, a core PCP gene, and its effect on both planar and the apical-basal polarity of the corneal epithelium was investigated. Severe morphological defects were observed in Vangl2-null mice indicative of underlying problems in apical-basal polarity of the epithelial cells. The basement membrane of Vangl2-null cells was largely absent in vivo, which suggested that at least some of the planar defects were secondary to an unexpected failure of apical-basal polarity. This study has shown for the first time that PCP plays a crucial role in the maintenance of an adult vertebrate tissue, particularly during wound healing and maintenance of the corneal epithelium. It has also indicated a role for the core PCP gene, Vangl2, in setting up apical-basal polarity of these adult cells.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Cornea ; Epithelial cells ; Cell migration ; Homeostasis