Mullins Lab Publications
Cells. 2021 Mar 20;10(3):687. doi: 10.3390/cells10030687.
The extracellular matrix (ECM) plays a crucial role in all parts of the eye, from maintaining clarity and hydration of the cornea and vitreous to regulating angiogenesis, intraocular pressure maintenance, and vascular signaling. This review focuses on the interactions of the ECM for homeostasis of normal physiologic functions of the cornea, vitreous, retina, retinal pigment epithelium, Bruch's membrane, and choroid as well as trabecular meshwork, optic nerve, conjunctiva and tenon's layer as it relates to glaucoma. A variety of pathways and key factors related to ECM in the eye are discussed, including but not limited to those related to transforming growth factor-β, vascular endothelial growth factor, basic-fibroblastic growth factor, connective tissue growth factor, matrix metalloproteinases (including MMP-2 and MMP-9, and MMP-14), collagen IV, fibronectin, elastin, canonical signaling, integrins, and endothelial morphogenesis consistent of cellular activation-tubulogenesis and cellular differentiation-stabilization. Alterations contributing to disease states such as wound healing, diabetes-related complications, Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy, angiogenesis, fibrosis, age-related macular degeneration, retinal detachment, and posteriorly inserted vitreous base are also reviewed.
Elife. 2021 Feb 25;10:e61313. doi: 10.7554/eLife.61313. Online ahead of print.
The endothelium responds to numerous chemical and mechanical factors in regulating vascular tone, blood pressure and blood flow. The endothelial volume regulatory anion channel (VRAC) has been proposed to be mechano-sensitive and thereby sense fluid flow and hydrostatic pressure to regulate vascular function. Here, we show that the Leucine Rich Repeat Containing Protein 8a, LRRC8A (SWELL1) is required for VRAC in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Endothelial LRRC8A regulates AKT-eNOS signaling under basal, stretch and shear-flow stimulation, forms a GRB2-Cav1-eNOS signaling complex, and is required for endothelial cell alignment to laminar shear flow. Endothelium-restricted Lrrc8a KO mice develop hypertension in response to chronic angiotensin-II infusion and exhibit impaired retinal blood flow with both diffuse and focal blood vessel narrowing in the setting of Type 2 diabetes (T2D). These data demonstrate that LRRC8A regulates AKT-eNOS in endothelium and is required for maintaining vascular function, particularly in the setting of T2D.