As in people with the disease called protein-aggregation cardiomyopathy, the mice developed enlarged hearts and abnormal clumps of the alpha-B crystallin protein
in their heart cells.
Besides water soluble crystallins, eye lens also contains non crystallin proteins
including various metabolic enzymes which are involved in protein, DNA, RNA biosynthesis and degradation (Hockwin and Ohrloff, 1981).
But as the eye ages, or in inherited conditions, the crystallin proteins
become misfolded, forming persistent amyloid clumps which make the lens cloudy.
This occurs when the structure of the crystallin proteins
that make up the lens in our eyes deteriorates, causing the damaged or disorganised proteins to clump and form a milky blue or brown layer.
Ecroyd H, Carver JA (2009) Crystallin proteins
and amyloid fibrils.
They discovered that one of the crystallin proteins in the lens of the eye plays a key role in the development of cataracts.
The lens actually contains three crystallin proteins, two of which help form the structure of the lens, and one that helps prevent the other two from clumping together and forming cataracts.