Crystallins and Cataracts
Mass spectrometry helps uncover the complex biochemistry behind cataract formation
Joanna Cummings |
Crystallins are a collection of structural proteins found in the lens of the eye that help to focus light onto the retina. Over our lifetimes they can accumulate damage, losing their native structure and fusing together to form aggregates – ultimately leading to the development of cataracts. But how does this happen – and how can we prevent the process?
Eugene Serebryany (Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, USA) has been studying these proteins for a number of years. “We need a non-surgical treatment for cataracts for the millions of people who can never benefit from surgery, but first it is necessary to understand what goes wrong with eye lens crystallins to cause the disease,” he says.
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