There is a second cell type in your body that expresses scores of the most intensively studied genes in neuroscience and exclusively shares critical interdependent modes of molecular regulation that include a network first described as responsible for the basic bifurcation of neuronal from non-neuronal gene expression in vertebrates. Neurons and lens cells are among the most ancient animal cell types, yet neurons have an exclusive status also attributed to roles underlying sensation, movement, and cognition. However, this status is challenged by cells in the lens of the eye. The extent and detail of internally consistent parallels with neuron biology now catalogued in their second native cell type in the lens provide a detailed model of interdependent neuron gene expression in lens development and non-neuronal role in vision. These comprehensive parallels identify the lens as a dimension of neurobiology and a fundamental new perspective on neurodevelopment and its disorders. Finally, this understanding identifies that hallmark neuronal gene expression and key modes of associated molecular regulation evolved in tandem in the lens.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- AMPA/NMDA glutamate receptor
- GABA receptor biology
- REST transcription factor