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Student Activities 2007-2008
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Elizabeth Anderson

Investigation of ERK signaling through Basigin gene products in retinal epithelial cells
South East Nerve Net Conference

Basigin gene products are thought to be cell adhesion molecules essential for function in the vertebrate retina. The Basigin gene codes for two products: Basigin on Müller glial cells and retinal pigmented epithelial cells, and Basigin-2 on photoreceptor neurons. Another laboratory group recently demonstrated that Cyclophilin A (CyPA) stimulates the ERK pathway via Basigin in human blood cells, triggering an intracellular signal cascade. This research was used as a template to determine if this pathway is also stimulated in retina cells, where Basigin is known to be essential for maturity. RPE-J cells were probed with a recombinant form of CyPA for 15 minutes. The cells were harvested and the lysates were subjected to SDS-PAGE and immunoblotting analyses using antibodies specific for the phorphorylated and nonphosphorylated forms of ERK. Replicated immunoblots indicate there is no phorphorylated ERK signaling occurring within the RPE-J cells. The present data indicate that an intracellular signaling cascade mediated by ERK molecules is not initiated via CyPA binding to Basigin on retinal pigmented epithelial cells. It is possible that intracellular events may occur in other retinal cells types. Future experiments will use a Müller cell-derived line and also a neuroblastoma cell line to determine if intracellular ERK signaling can be initiated in those cells.