The new research tool arises from the Molecular Genetics Group of the Faculty of Medicine
The Human Molecular Genetics Group of the Faculty of Medicine of Albacete has developed a transgenic line of zebrafish that represents a new tool to investigate the biological function of the protein myocilin, mainly known to be the cause of juvenile glaucoma. The work is part of the lines of research of this group and of the doctoral thesis of Raquel Atiénzar Aroca, directed by the professors of the University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM), José Daniel Aroca and Julio Escribano.
The research, recently published, has made it possible to obtain the first line of zebrafish developed in a laboratory that produces an excess of myocilin, the cause of juvenile glaucoma which, as Professor Julio Escribano indicates, is a hereditary disease and “represents an important cause of visual loss and It has its origin in the progressive and irreversible alteration of the optic nerve.
This protein was discovered more than twenty years ago, with the participation of researchers from the Human Molecular Genetics Group of the Faculty of Medicine, and despite the work carried out by numerous research groups around the world, its function is still not well understood.
zebra fish, key
The zebrafish protein, as collected in the work, is similar in many aspects to human protein, “so this animal is a good experimental model for its study,” they say from the group. The results obtained show the role of myocilin in the tissues of the anterior part of the eye and in the biology of the zebrafish retina. “Specifically, in this study it has been shown that excess myocilin alters the retina, causes overgrowth of the iris, thickens the corneal layers and decreases the vision of the fish.” Alterations that, as they add, appear only in male and adult fish.
“We trust that this new animal model will help us unravel its normal function in the body and the mechanism by which certain genetic mutations cause glaucoma, knowledge that is necessary to develop new treatments and diagnostic methods.”
The study has been financed with funds from the UCLM, the Carlos III Health Institute and the Ministry of Education of the JCCM.