Associate Professor, Vision Science and Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute
Membership effective July 2003
To study the mechanisms of the eye development and diseases and to develop novel approaches to prevent vision loss by using genetic models
Our research goal is to develop new knowledge for understanding the mechanisms of eye development and disease for preventing, delaying or curing age- or disease-related visual impairments. Using genetically engineered mouse models, we have identified a number of key genetic factors that play essential roles in eye development and/or diseases including cataract and retina degeneration. Investigation of these key genetic factors leads to a better understanding of several fundamental biological events such as how the lens develops its transparency and what regulates appropriate refractive index of the lens for transmitting a focused image onto the retina, and it is possible to repair the loss of the photoreceptor cells due to various diseases by using stem cells or precursor retinal cells. We are exploring modern tissue engineering to repair degenerative cells in the eye by using these unique genetic models. We are also investigating the molecular mechanisms for how embryonic stem cells or other pluripotent cells differentiate into specific ocular cell types, such as retinal pigment epithelium, photoreceptor cells, neuronal cells, and lens cells.
Xia CH, Cheung D, DeRosa AM, Chang B, Lo WK, White TW, Gong X. (2006) Knock-in alpha3 connexin prevents severe cataracts caused by an alpha8 mutation. J Cell Science, 119, 2138-44
Xia CH, Liu H, Cheung D, Cheng C, Wang E, Du X, Chang B, Beutler B, Lo WK, Gong X. (2006) Diverse gap junctions modulate distinct mechanisms for fiber cell formation during lens development. Development 133, 2033-40 (Cover paper)
Wang KJ, Cheng C, Li L, Liu H, Xia CH, Yao K, Sun PQ, Horwitz H,Gong X. (2007) A gammaD-crystallin mutation affects protein aggregation and lens fiber cell denucleation. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS) 48, 3719-28
DeRosa AM, Xia C-H, Gong X, White TM. (2007) The cataract inducing Cx50-S50P mutation dominantly alters wild-type lens connexin channel gating. J Cell Science 120, 4107-4116
Gong X, Cheng C, and Xia CH. (2007) Connexins in lens development and cataractogenesis. Journal of Membrane Biology 218, 9-12.
Li L, Chang B, Cheng C, Chang D, Hawes NL, Xia C-H, Gong X. (2008) Dense nuclear cataract caused by the gammaB-crystallin S11R mutation. Invest. Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS) 49, 304-309
Xia CH, Liu H, Cheung D, Wang M, Cheng C, Du X, Chang B, Beutler B, Gong X. (2008) A model for familial exudative vitreoretinopathy caused by LPR5 mutations. Hum Mol Genet. Feb 9; [Epub ahead of print]