Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Norma Adragna (Committee Member), Mauricio Di Fulvio (Committee Member), Peter Lauf (Advisor)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Small conductance calcium-activated potassium (SK) channels belong to the family of K+ channels. They play a significant role in cell volume regulation and in lens homeostasis, and thus are associated with cataract formation. This study was designed to demonstrate the presence of the four different isoforms of SK channels (SK1, SK2, SK3, and SK4) in human lens epithelial (HLE)-B3 cell line using Western blot (WB), immunofluorescence (IF), and reverse transcriptase coupled to the polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Cataract formation involves SK-mediated K+ loss and gain of Na+ ions by lens cells. Further, it has been shown in previous studies that the intermediate conductance (IK) channel also called SK4 mediates regulatory volume decrease (RVD). This research confirmed the presence of SK4 in HLE-B3 cells, and for the first time evidence of SK2 channels expression and localization in human lens epithelial cells is provided. This is indeed a novel finding as earlier reports showed SK2 expression restricted specifically to neuronal tissues. This finding contrasts with that in fetal human lens cells (FHL-124) which express SK3 but lack SK2 channels. Our studies in HLE-B3 cells, confirm absence of SK3. The expression pattern of SK isoforms in lens cells may provide the molecular basis for targeted therapeutics aimed at treating cataract.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Year Degree Awarded