Contrast functions of αA- and αB-crystallins in cancer development

Z. Wang, L. Wang, Z. X. Huang, X. Hu, J. Liu, W. Hu, W. Ji, Q. Nie, J. W. Xiang, Z. G. Chen, Y. Xiao, W. J. Qiang, J. Zhu, James W Gigantelli, Q. D. Nguyen, D. W C Li

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


α-Crystallins, initially identified as the structural proteins of the ocular lens, belong to the small heat shock protein family. They play significant roles in maintaining the lens transparency and preventing protein aggregation. α-Crystallins exist in two isoforms: αA and αB, and they display differential tissue distribution. Their mutations are implicated in several human diseases including cardiac myopathies, neurodegenerative diseases, cataracts and various types of cancers. Increased αB expression was detected in retinoblastoma, breast cancer, glioblastoma, prostate and renal cell carcinomas, indicating its role in promoting tumor growth. A complex picture emerges for αA. Although earlier studies suggest that αA may promote cancer development, recent studies from our laboratory demonstrate that αA can act as a tumor suppressor inhibiting cell transformation and retarding cell migration through modulating MAP kinase activity. In this review, we summarize the recent progress about the functions of αA and αB in cancer development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)914-922
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Molecular Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Cancer
  • Crystallin
  • Therapy
  • αA
  • αB

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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