Role of EMP2 in RPE Homeostasis
Complex interactions between a key cell type, the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and the underlying extracellular matrix may play a critical role in the pathophysiology of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) as well as in proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR). Dr. Gordon has observed that RPE express epithelial membrane protein (EMP2), a protein that may play a significant role in the recruitment and targeted cell surface delivery of certain proteins to specific regions of the cell membrane. The purpose of this study is to test whether the modulation of EMP2 expression in the RPE produces the predicted biologic consequences, including altered growth characteristics and changes in patterns of cellular adhesion and migration. The expected improvement in the understanding of the biochemical pathways and the regulation of the various functions performed by the RPE could yield important insight into the pathophysiology of age-related macular degeneration, PVR, and hereditary retinal degenerations. It could also lead to the identification of new targets for the treatment of RPE-associated pathology.